News from Plansee 2022
Writing about web page https://www.plansee-seminar.com/
After being delayed by COVID from 2021, the long-awaited Plansee 2022 conference took place in Ruette, Austria from 29th-May -3rd June.
This is a four-yearly conference that is the place to be for anyone who works with hard metals and refractory metals - essentially most metals from group 5,6,7 of the Transition metals - namely W and elements next door.
This Seminar did not disappoint and there was a surprisingly significant number of talks on nuclear materials in terms of how W and similar materials have their place in fusion power.
There have also been numerous opportunities to connect with academic and industrial partners as well as groups such as the European Powder Metals Group (EPMA). Maintaining networks and setting up new once is as crucial to research as doing research itself - no advances get made if they are not communicated,
Alongside this were talks on exciting topics such as additive manufacture and 3-D printing techniques - both of which are significant when considering parts for fusion reactors since complex geometries are required.
The work our group presented gained some interest in that this conference is an ideal platform to demonstrate the cWC-RSB concept and the progress made so far despite setbacks. Certainly, the contacts made at Plansee will show a significant role later this year as the full demonstration of Gen 2 RSBs is realized.
Simply put, 3-D printing of powder metallurgy fabrication can be split into two main categories:
1. Direct powder bed sintering, where a laser draws out a part from a powder bed in a protective atmosphere as for 3-D printing. The aim is ultimately a near net shape part that can then be annealed and finished as for conventional PM.
2. 3-D printing of green PM materials. This comprises of a selection of techniques involving green materials including 3-D printing of organic binder into powder constituents - useful for for complex geometries - prior to a standard debinding cycles or from filaments which can be shaped and bonded into a more robust structure prior to sintering.
Both techniques show promise both for cWC and RSB materials in the later stages of this project when there will be need for demonstrator parts and full-sized boilerplace items by the mid 2020s
While it might be a long time until Plansee 2026 the work starts now to ensure that fusion-realated applications will be front and centre.