New hot isostatic press furnace What having this capability means for materials research

October 7, 2021   /

Hot isostatic pressing (HIP) is a manufacturing process that uses uniform heat and pressure to reduce the porosity of metals and increase their density and structural uniformity which improves the mechanical properties and workability of materials.

This process has taken on new importance with the emergence of industrial scale metals 3D manufacturing as aerospace and automotive manufacturers seek to take advantage of the benefits of additive manufacturing. 

In order to pass the strict rigors of the federal approval process, any changes in the method of manufacture of a part must demonstrate the ability to produce that part with equivalent or superior specifications including structural integrity and, durability before they can move to full scale production. 

Advances in hot isostatic pressing allows for the development of new high-performance metal alloys, longer-lasting tools, and the rapid production of complex metal structures. This is especially true of industrial level metals additive manufacturing, where material densification plays a pivotal role.

A new generation of HIPing furnaces combine uniform rapid cooling, HIPing and heat treatment in a single process. Accelerated cooling under pressure minimizes thermal distortion and improves material properties. This capability will not only help demonstrate the ability to manufacture existing part designs that meet rigorous quality standards, but it is also enabling new research into the post-processing of 3D-printed components.

The development of new metal alloys that can produce stronger, lighter parts produced with more efficient design using shapes and dimensions that traditional machining is unable to produce will be an important capability for materials research.