Maraging Steel 350 Powder

Maraging steel 350 powder is a precipitation-hardenable, martensitic steel powder designed for additive manufacturing, especially for applications requiring high hardness and strength alongside good ductility. It is known for its ultra-high strength from a unique blend of molybdenum, cobalt, nickel, aluminum, titanium and other alloying elements.

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Table of Contents

Overview

Maraging steel 350 powder is a precipitation-hardenable, martensitic steel powder designed for additive manufacturing, especially for applications requiring high hardness and strength alongside good ductility. It is known for its ultra-high strength from a unique blend of molybdenum, cobalt, nickel, aluminum, titanium and other alloying elements.

Maraging steels are unique due to their lower carbon content and higher availability of nickel-aluminum-molybdenum. The low carbon levels prevent segregation or precipitation of carbides, while the strong alloying promotes age hardening within the martensite matrix from the precipitation of intermetallic phases.

Key properties of maraging steel 350 powder:

  • Ultra-high tensile yield and ultimate strength
  • Good ductility and toughness
  • Excellent fracture toughness
  • High hardness
  • Resistant to over-aging and dimensional changes at moderately high temperatures
  • Good weldability
  • Heat treatable to tailor properties
  • Good machinability and polishability

Maraging steel 350 finds uses across aerospace, aviation, defense, oil and gas, motorsports, tooling, molds, and die components. It allows engineers to reduce weight while maintaining performance and durability.

The ‘350’ designation refers to an ultimate tensile strength of 350 ksi or 2400 MPa from aging treatment. Higher strength variants like maraging steel 300 and maraging steel 550 are also available.

Composition

Maraging steel 350 powder typically has the following composition:

Maraging Steel 350 Powder Composition

Alloying ElementWeight %
Nickel (Ni)17-19
Cobalt (Co)8-9
Molybdenum (Mo)4-5
Titanium (Ti)0.6-0.8
Aluminum (Al)0.05-0.15
Carbon (C)≤ 0.03
Manganese (Mn)≤ 0.1
Phosphorus (P)≤ 0.01
Sulfur (S)≤ 0.01
Silicon (Si)≤ 0.1
Iron (Fe)Balance

The strength in maraging steels comes from intermetallic precipitates that form during aging treatment, not from carbon-based carbides. Hence the carbon level is deliberately kept low.

Titanium is critical to produce the hardening Ni3Ti precipitates. Aluminum optimizes the activity of titanium by forming Ni3(Al,Ti) precipitates. The high nickel and cobalt content partition more strongly during quenching and enhance the kinetics of age strengthening.

The molybdenum adds solid solution strengthening. Impurities like silicon, manganese, phosphorus and sulfur are minimized as they can reduce fracture toughness.

Properties

Physical and Mechanical Properties of Maraging Steel 350 Powder

PropertyDescription
Density8 g/cm3
Melting Point1400°C ± 30°C
Thermal Conductivity10-12 W/m.K
Modulus of Elasticity190-210 GPa
Poisson’s Ratio0.28-0.30
Electrical Resistivity0.80 microhm-cm
Coefficient of Thermal Expansion10-11 x 10-6 /K
Hardness40-52 HRC, 400-550 HB

Typical Mechanical Properties of As-Built Parts

PropertiesMaraging Steel 350
Tensile Yield Strength235 ksi (1600 MPa)
Tensile Strength290-330 ksi (2000-2275 MPa)
Elongation at break3-8%
Reduction in area30-35%

Typical Mechanical Properties – Heat Treated and Aged

PropertiesMaraging Steel 350
Tensile Yield Strength280-300 ksi (1930-2070 MPa)
Tensile Strength340-350 ksi (2350-2400 MPa)
Elongation at break8-13%
Reduction in area8-15%
Fracture Toughness75-100 MPa√m
Hardness50-52 HRC, 475-525 HB

The remarkable ultra-high strengths are achieved through additional heat treatment and aging cycles which promote precipitation hardening.

Proper temperature and time of aging is critical to achieving the desired level of age hardening – overaging can cause reductions in strength and hardness.

In addition to strength, maraging steel parts also demonstrate good ductility, fracture toughness and resistance to fracture compared to other aerospace alloys. The strength-to-weight ratio is exceptionally high.

Applications

The unparalleled strength-to-weight ratio of maraging steel 350 makes it suitable for:

Maraging Steel 350 Powder Applications

SectorsParts and Components
AerospaceLanding gear components, actuators, fittings, fasteners, gears
AvionicsRuggedized enclosures and housings
DefenseOrdnance, gun barrels, ammunition casings, optics
MotorsportsSuspension, steering mechanisms
AutomotivePrecision tooling, injection molds
Tool and dieForming dies, pressing dies, molds, casting dies
Oil and gasValves, pumps, wirelines

The lightweight yet exceptionally strong maraging steel 350 parts allow critical weight savings without sacrificing the extreme durability needed under dynamic working loads.

Heat treatment enables tailoring maraging steel properties for different applications – moderately high hardness for wear resistance, maximum yield strength for load-bearing or ballistic uses, or balanced strength and ductility.

By using 3D printing, complex geometries including lattices and cooling channels can be incorporated into maraging steel parts to further cut weight while retaining stiffness and performance. This is increasingly valued by industries like aerospace and motorsports racing.

Specifications, Grades and Standards

Material Specifications

SpecificationDescription
AMS 6514Annealed and precipitation hardened steels bars, forging and billet
MIL-S-46850High strength maraging steel for aircraft landing gear parts
ASTM A564 / A564MStandard specification for maraging steels
AMS 2759 / 2759MAnnealed and precipitation hardened steel plates
MIL-S-16216KMilitary specification for maraging steel plates

Available Grades

GradeNominal Tensile Strength
Maraging Steel 200200 ksi (1380 MPa)
Maraging Steel 250250 ksi (1720 MPa)
Maraging Steel 350350 ksi (2400 MPa)
Maraging Steel 550550 ksi (3790 MPa)

The grade indicates the nominal tensile strength achieved after heat treatment and aging. Other variants like maraging 300 steel (2110 MPa) also exist for specific applications.

Industry Standards

  • AMS 2772 – Heat treatment of maraging steels
  • AMS 2773 – Retreatment of maraging steels
  • AMS 2774 – Age hardening of maraging steels
  • SAE AMS 7001 – Ultrasonic inspection of maraging steel
  • SAE AMS 2655 – Magnetic particle inspection of maraging steel

These standards help producers and end-users to consistently process and quality check maraging steel materials and components.

Maraging Steel 350 Powder Suppliers

Maraging Steel 350 Powder Manufacturers

CompanyDescription
LPW TechnologyLeading metal powder supplier for AM industry
Sandvik OspreyReputed manufacturer of specialty alloy powders
ErasteelProducer of high performance soft and stainless steels
Carpenter AdditiveMajor producer of customized alloy powders
PraxairSupplies advanced metallic powders to aerospace sector
AP&CSpecializes in gas and water atomized metal powders

Indicative Pricing

Product FormPrice Range
Maraging Steel 350 Powder$115-145 per kg
Maraging Steel 350 Wire$165-215 per kg

Prices vary based on order quantities, lead times, quality checks and value-added services provided by the manufacturer. Bulk orders usually avail discounts from powder suppliers.

Value-Added Services

  • Sieving and classification
  • Blending and custom alloy development

Processing Maraging Steel Powder

Maraging steel powders possess good flowability and packing density, making them suitable for binder-jetting and laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing.

Parameters need to optimized to achieve high density prints with the desired mechanical properties.

Printing Parameters

ParameterTypical RangeRole
Layer thickness20-50 μmThinner layers improve resolution
Laser power100-400 WMelting of particles for consolidation
Scan speed100-1000 mm/sBalances density and build rate
Hatch spacing80-150 μmOverlapping hatches for densification
Powder bed temp100-150°CMinimizes residual stresses

Heat Treatment

Solutionizing followed by aging treatment is vital to achieve ultra-high strength in maraging steel 350.

Typical Heat Treatment Schedule

  • Solution annealing – Heat at 820-830°C for 1 hour and air cool
  • Precipitation hardening – Age at 480°C for 6 hours and air cool to room temperature

The temperatures and duration can be slightly adjusted based on part sizes and furnace limitations.

Most maraging steel parts require additional machining using processes like CNC milling or turning to achieve the tolerance and surface finish requirements demanded by end-use applications, especially in sectors like aerospace.

Comparison with Other Materials

Comparison with Stainless Steels

ParameterMaraging Steel 350Stainless Steels
DensityHigher7.7-8 g/cm3
Strength2-3X higherUp to 1000 MPa
WeldabilityComparableExcellent
Corrosion ResistanceLowerExtremely high
Cost5-10x more expensiveLower cost per kg

While lacking corrosion resistance, maraging steel provides vastly higher strength compared to all series of stainless steels including Inconel superalloys. This makes it ideal for structural components.

Comparison with Aluminum and Titanium Alloys

ParameterMaraging Steel 350Al/Ti Alloys
DensitySimilar/Higher~4.5/7.8 g/cm3
StrengthUp to 2X higher330-1100 MPa
DuctilityLowerUp to 25% elongation
StiffnessHigherModerate stiffness
CostSimilar/LowerComparable pricing

Maraging steels compete with the strength-to-weight ratios of aircraft-grade aluminum and titanium while avoiding issues like cracking and distortion seen in those lighter alloys. The higher elastic modulus also makes it more rigid.

Comparison with Other Steels

ParameterMaraging Steel 350Plate/Tool Steels
Tensile Strength1.5-2X higherUp to 300 ksi
ToughnessBetterVariable toughness
Hardness1.5-2X higherUp to 54 HRc
Machinability & polishabilityBetterMore tool wear

Maraging steel powder outperforms standard varieties of mold and tool steels in terms of attainable hardness, tensile and yield strengths. This is useful for cutting tooling needing hot hardness.

Applications Case Studies

Aerospace Brackets

  • Maraging steel 350 brackets created using AM to mount radar system
  • 30% weight reduction over traditional stainless steel 316L parts
  • Maintains stiffness in thin regions via topology optimization

Racing Car Gearbox

  • Complete H-pattern gearbox housing 3D printed
  • Withstood extreme vibration, pressures and temperatures during racing
  • 70% lighter than cast aluminium housing
  • Reduced lap times and increased fuel efficiency

Injection Molding Tooling

  • Maraging steel 350 inserts for plastic injection molding
  • UltiMaker sPro 230 used for printing the tool inserts
  • Reduced lead times from 26 weeks to 2 weeks
  • Inserts lasted 60% longer than tool steel tools

Artillery Projectiles

  • Built maraging steel obus shells using laser powder bed fusion
  • Achieved 30% increased muzzle velocities from light-weighting
  • Withstood firing stresses exceeding 50,000 psi
  • Reduced scatter and improved accuracy

Cryogenic Pin Tooling

  • Inserts, locators, clamping fixtures printed in maraging steel
  • Optimized for subzero conditions down to -150°C
  • Handled thermal strains during cryogenic aluminum welding
  • Increased tool life by 8X over tool steel parts

These application examples highlight the benefits of maraging steel 350 powder like extreme part strength, reduced weight, design flexibility, part customization and performance gains in challenging operating environments.

Pros and Cons

Advantages

  • Exceptional tensile and yield strengths
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Heat treatable to tailor properties
  • Good fracture toughness
  • Dimensional stability at higher temperatures
  • Excellent machinability and polishability
  • Parts can be welded and repaired

Limitations

  • More expensive than standard steels
  • Lower corrosion resistance
  • Prone to cracking if improperly processed
  • Requires post-processing and finishing
  • Difficult to recycle after use
  • Limited commercial availability and experience

Future Outlook

Maraging steel continues to find increasing usage in aerospace, defense, motorsports, tooling and other sectors needing ultra-high strength metallic materials.

Advancements in post-processing and quality assurance promise to increase adoption rates by improving final part quality and reliability.

New spray-forming and condensation manufacturing techniques also seek to increase cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability of maraging steel powder-based AM.

High initial costs, long lead times and proprietary limitations have hampered more widespread implementation thus far. But continued metallurgical developments, supply chain improvements and standardization efforts aim to make maraging steels more accessible to small and medium sized enterprises as well.

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