Aheadd® CP1: Revolutionizing Additive Manufacturing in High-Performance Applications

May 29, 2024

In this article, we provide an overview of Aheadd® CP1, a new generation aluminum-iron-zirconium powder from Constellium. Below, we explore how the material has the potential to transform additive manufacturing (AM) in high-performance sectors such as motorsports, defense, and aerospace.

Designed specifically for Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF), Aheadd® CP1 offers significant advantages over traditional aluminum alloys, including enhanced strength, ductility, thermal and electrical conductivity, and simplified post-processing.

Material and Process Capabilities

Aheadd® CP1 is optimized for use with the Velo3D Sapphire, renowned for its precise and reliable additive manufacturing capabilities. The material’s properties discussed here are specified based on parts produced from a single Sapphire printer using Velo3D’s standard 50 μm or 100 μm layer thickness parameters, ensuring high productivity in LPBF processing while maintaining excellent material characteristics. The material’s design ensures a consistent and simplified heat treatment process, enhancing its appeal for applications demanding reliable performance.

Heat Exchanger designed by PWR Cooling Technology for High-Performance Motor Sports on a Velo3D Sapphire XC Printer.

Aheadd® CP1 Mechanical Properties

After Heat Treatment3
Property1Ultimate Tensile Strength, MPa (ksi)Yield (0.2% Offset), MPa (ksi)Elongation At Break, percent
Process RecipeTBR (cc/h)2Sample Size4MeanMinMeanMinMeanMin
1kW/50 μm6556335 (49)331 (48)302 (44)297 (43)17.613.9
1kW/100 μm10156306 (44)303 (44)274 (40)270 (39)14.18.2
1. Mechanical & test samples printed in vertical orientation, machined to ASTM E8 (round specimen #3). 2. TBR: Theoretical Build Rate (TBR) is a per-laser build rate calculated from the process conditions of bulk core as scan speed x hatch spacing x layer thickness. This value represents a single laser only and is reported for comparison purposes across different materials and recipes, but does not correspond to true build rate, which is dependent on geometry and system characteristics (i.e. number of lasers, recoat times, etc.). 3. Heat treatment solution at 400 °C (752 °F) for 4 hours dwell. 4. Data collected from single Sapphire printer.

Thermal and Electrical Conductivity

Aheadd® CP1 offers a conductivity of 160 W/mK and electrical conductivity of 38% IACS, making it ideal for components that require efficient heat dissipation and electrical performance. These properties enhance the material’s suitability for heat exchangers, electrical enclosures, and other high-performance applications.

Surface Finish and Density

Aheadd® CP1 boasts a high relative density of over 99%, ensuring minimal porosity and high structural integrity. The surface finish achieved on angles greater than 25° from the horizontal is fine, with a surface roughness (Sa) of less than 25 μm. This level of surface finish is crucial for applications requiring smooth surfaces for improved aerodynamics and fluid dynamics.

Microstructure Analysis

The microstructure of Aheadd® CP1 after additive manufacturing and heat treatment shows a uniform distribution of fine precipitates, contributing to its high strength and ductility. This refined microstructure enhances the material’s overall performance, making it a superior choice for high-stress applications.

Qualified Powder Suppliers

Velo3D collaborates with qualified powder suppliers to ensure the consistent quality of Aheadd® CP1. The integration of Constellium’s high-performance aluminum powders with Velo3D’s advanced AM technology sets a new standard in the industry, enabling the production of parts that meet stringent quality and performance criteria.

Applications and Benefits

Aheadd® CP1 is ideal for heat transfer applications in the motorsport, defense, and aerospace industries. Its high thermal conductivity makes it perfect for components like heat exchangers, where efficient heat dissipation is critical. The material’s strength and ductility also make it suitable for structural components that must endure high stress and strain.

By utilizing Aheadd® CP1, manufacturers can achieve significant improvements in part performance and production efficiency. The material’s properties allow for the consolidation of multiple parts into a single, more efficient component, reducing assembly time and potential points of failure. This consolidation not only enhances the overall performance of the final product but also simplifies the supply chain and reduces costs.

Driving Innovation Forward

The introduction of Aheadd® CP1 represents a significant advancement in the field of additive manufacturing. Its optimized properties for LPBF, combined with Velo3D’s state-of-the-art Sapphire System, offer unparalleled advantages in high-performance applications. As industries continue to demand higher efficiency and performance from their components, materials like Aheadd® CP1 will play a crucial role in meeting these challenges and driving innovation forward.

Download our material spec sheet to learn more about Aheadd® CP1.

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Director of Content

Amir Iliaifar is the Director of Content at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.