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Chinese Scientists Have Created Fusion Reactor Components Using SLM 3D Printing Technology
Mar 29, 2018

Scientists from the institute of nuclear safety technology and the Chinese academy of sciences have used CLAM steel to build and test the 3D printing wall of the test blanket component, a component of the fusion reactor.


Selective laser melting (SLM) is a kind of powder bed metal additive manufacturing process, which has a wide range of applications, from automobile and aerospace to medical industry.However, one of its highest risk applications, in all its USES, could be to make fusion reactors.

In China, researchers have just taken a big step towards using SLM 3D printing to create fusion reactors.

From the nuclear safety technology research institute (INEST) and Chinese academy of sciences, the researchers have used metal increases material manufacturing process to create the first wall test blanket module, this is one of the key components of the fusion.

According to researchers from China low activation martensitic steel (CLAM) (a kind of is mainly used for fusion reactor and advanced fission reactor neutron radiation resistance of China steel) made of 3 d printing reactor components comply with all the design requirements.


INEST has been studying CLAM steel for years and has published several research papers on the material.

In the latest study, the group found that in spite of the create complex 3 d printing for fusion reactor components in terms of technical problems to overcome, but 3 d printing does comprehensive can form the complex structures, so as to shorten the manufacturing cycle and improve the material utilization.

So it's good news for the fusion reactor's 3D printers and researchers who want to try something similar.

The researchers found that "all the impact absorbing energy of impact specimen (IAE) significantly below the forging of the CLAM steel impact absorbing energy, and perpendicular to the direction of building IAE is higher than the sample of the IAE in parallel to the direction of the building the sample".

In other words, 3d-printed CLAM steel performs better than forged steel in related aspects.

CLAM steel is considered to be the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) helium cooled China ceramic nuclear (HCCB) of main structural material, it will become the world's largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment.ITER's initial plasma experiment is scheduled to begin in 2025.

The latest research results, "nuclear materials journal", published "the microstructure anisotropy and its effects on mechanical properties of activated ferrite/martensite steel prepared by selective laser smelting."