Scientists including UW-Madison researchers have developed a method for 3D printing a type of stainless steel that could help manufacturers reduce production costs.

That’s according to an overview from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which collaborated with the university and the Argonne National Laboratory on the research project. It focused on a metal alloy called 17-4 precipitation hardening stainless steel, which is used in a variety of applications including the aerospace industry due to its durability and anti-corrosion properties.

While 3D printing can offer advantages over traditional manufacturing such as lower costs and enabling flexibility for more complex designs, NIST notes that it can also produce results “that are too inconsistent for certain applications.” That’s of particular concern for metals because of the rapid changes in temperatures involved, according to study co-author and physicist Fan Zhang.

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