Researchers from the U.S. Army and the University of Central Florida have been collaboratively working to enhance the 3D printing of a magnesium alloy in an effort to develop lighter components for warfighters.
The efforts of the Army researchers and their academic partners are aligned with a military modernization strategy that partly aims to improve combat effectiveness of dismounted units by reducing their physical load, the service branch said Monday.
"In this work, we optimized the process to achieve higher density than previously reported and used that to produce and characterize lattice structures made up of WE43," said Brandon McWilliams, lead researcher for 3D printing metals at Army Combat Capabilities Development Command.
The Army has cited an online publication for the materials science community that reported Magnesium Elektron WE43 as a high strength casting alloy that can withstand a maximum of 300°C temperature.
According to the military, advanced additive manufacturing could cut short "lengthy logistic chains" and enable delivery of components at the point of need.
The Army plans to test the 3D-printed material's high strain rate and ballistic properties and identify which components it can be applied to.