Material Gradients in Oxygen System Components Improve Safety
- Magazine Article
Oxygen system components fabricated by Laser Engineered Net Shaping™ (LENS™) could result in improved safety and performance. LENS™ is a near-net shape manufacturing process fusing powdered materials injected into a laser beam. Parts can be fabricated with a variety of elemental metals, alloys, and nonmetallic materials without the use of a mold. The LENS™ process allows the injected materials to be varied throughout a single workpiece. Hence, surfaces exposed to oxygen could be constructed of an oxygen-compatible material while the remainder of the part could be one chosen for strength or reduced weight. Unlike conventional coating applications, a compositional gradient would exist between the two materials, so no abrupt material boundary exists. Without an interface between dissimilar materials, there is less tendency for chipping or cracking associated with thermal-expansion mismatches.