Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has done the impossible by creating the world’s first ever 3D printed diamond composite.
Unlike real or synthetic diamonds, the new diamond does not sparkle but is perfect for a wide range of industrial applications.
According to Sandvik’s engineers, the super-hard material can be 3D printed in highly complex shapes and could potentially revolutionize the way the industry uses the hardest known natural material on Earth.
Diamonds are without doubt the hardest substances known to man since time immemorial.
They are a key component in a large range of wear resistant tools that impact mining and drilling, machining and medical implants.
Demand for more diamonds have led scientists to create synthetic diamonds ever since the 1950s, but they are so hard and complicated to machine, it is almost impossible to form complex shapes.
Sandvik’s breakthrough could change all this as its 3D printed diamond composites can be formed in almost any shape desired.
According to Mikael Schuisky – Head of R&D and Operations at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing – this opens up the possibility of using it in applications that were previously considered impossible.
The difference between Sandvik’s diamond and natural or synthetic diamond is that Sandvik’s is a composite material.
Most of the material is diamond, but to make it printable and dense, it needs to be cemented in a very hard matrix material – while retaining the most important physical properties of pure diamond.
“Sandvik’s 3D printed diamond composite is a true innovation. It means that we can begin to use diamond in applications and shapes never conceived possible before,” says Uppsala University’s adjunct professor Susanne Norgren.
“Just imagine what it could do to industries, when it is possible to print anything, in any shape – in diamond.”
According to Sandvik, the new diamond composite has been tested and found to have extremely high hardness.
It also boasts of exceptional heat conductivity, possesses low density, very good thermal expansion and fantastic corrosion resistance.
Image and content: Sandvik