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MSE & MAE researchers team up with NASA, AFRL, GE Aerospace to develop strategies for creating new superalloys


The team will use a novel additive manufacturing approach from NASA Glenn to create oxide dispersion strengthened metallic materials with significant improvement to strength at high temperatures for potential applications like advanced turbine engines and power generation systems. 

The new materials to be created and studied are based on the concept that metals can be reinforced by distributing ceramic oxide phases throughout the metallic matrix using laser powder bed additive manufacturing, where the metallic powders are coated with the oxide ceramic constituent. The melting and turbulence during the additive manufacturing process uniformly distributes nanoscale oxide particles throughout the metallic matrix. Such a distribution of nanoscale oxide reinforcements is particularly effective in strengthening metals at high temperature but is challenging to create by other methods.

Mills Niezgoda Steward Marquis DMERF project Ohio State Univeristy University of Michigan NSF Award
clockwise from upper left: Mills, Niezgoda, Marquis, Stewart

In this novel additive manufacturing approach, a moving laser melts and solidifies the metal and oxide powder, building up the material layer-by-layer. The desirability of oxide dispersion strengthening has been known for decades, but the traditional processing means (mechanical alloying) used to create a fine distribution of oxide particles is very time- and cost-intensive, while yielding undesirable variability in the resulting microstructures. The additive manufacturing process pioneered by NASA Glenn Research Center appears to provide an attractive alternative to the mechanical alloying process, enabling direct production of the desired microstructures. These materials will inherit additional strength from precipitation strengthening, a traditional approach to improving behavior in superalloys.

Knowledge about interaction between these new processing strategies, resultant internal structure of the alloy, and mechanical behavior of these materials will be generated in the project. An artificial-intelligence framework will render accessibility by discerning critical microstructure-property correlations and help accelerate the development of this new class of superalloys. 

Michael Mills, Chair of the Department of the Materials Science and Engineering and Taine G. McDougal Professor, will lead team members Stephen Niezgoda (MSE, MAE), Calvin Stewart (MAE, MSE), and University of Michigan’s Emmanuelle Marquis (MSE) in the project, which is part of the National Science Foundation's Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) Program. Dr. Timothy Smith (PhD MSE 2016, The Ohio State University) is leading the effort to further develop the process at NASA Glenn Research Center. Collaborators also include GE Aerospace and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

The $2M grant spans four years with the majority of the work being conducted at Ohio State University.


Related announcement

CEMAS partners with NASA to develop revolutionary alloy  |  April 28, 2023

Researchers at the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS) collaborated with NASA Glenn Research Center to develop a new 3D printable alloy that can result in stronger, more durable parts for airplanes and spacecraft. The revolutionary work introduces a 3D printable alloy, called GRX-810, that can withstand harsher conditions and higher temperatures than previous alloys.


DMREF seeks to foster the design, discovery, and development of materials to accelerate their path to deployment by harnessing the power of data and computational tools in concert with experiment and theory. DMREF emphasizes a deep integration of experiments, computation, and theory; the use of accessible digital data across the materials development continuum; and strengthening connections among theorists, computational scientists (including data scientists), and experimentalists as well as those from academia, industry, and government.

Tag: Materials