SLM process parameters development of Cu-alloy Cu7.2Ni1.8Si1Cr

Palousek, D., Kocica, M., Pantelejev, L., Klakurkova, L., Celko, L., Koutny, D. and Kaiser, J. (2019), "SLM process parameters development of Cu-alloy Cu7.2Ni1.8Si1Cr", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 2, pp. 266-276.



Materials with a high thermal conductivity, such as Cu-alloys hold the most interest to the plastic moulding industry. Additive manufacturing (AM), especially selective laser melting (SLM) of metals, allows the production of parts with complicated internal cooling and increased production efficiency. The portfolio of alloys for metal AM is limited and still missing process parameters for the processing of copper alloys. This paper aims to preview the process parameters of high-strength alloy Cu7.2Ni1.8Si1Cr processed by SLM.


An experimental approach is adopted to investigate porosity and mechanical properties of SLM specimens and its comparison with standard material AMPCOLOY 944. Optimization of porosity was performed using line and cube specimens; mechanical properties and microstructure were evaluated by tensile testing and metallography.


Optimum processing parameters for fabrication of Cu-alloy specimens with a relative density of 99.95 per cent were identified, and no cracks were detected. Mechanical testing of SLM specimens showed the ultimate tensile strength, proof stress of 0.2 and elongation of 380, 545 MPa and 16.9 per cent. The alloy is suitable for laser AM, thanks to its processability at a relatively high laser scanning speeds and thus its promising price of part/costs ratio.

Research limitations/implications

The paper describes the initial state of research – the follow-up tests focussed on mechanical testing, fatigue and statistical evaluation need to be conducted. The process parameters are developed only for bulk geometry – optimal setup for lattice structures and thin walls has not been explored yet.

Practical implications

The research findings in this work could be used for production of 3D printed parts and after the tuning of additional parameters, e.g. for up- and down-skin zones, could be used for special application such as energy exchange.


This work produces the processing of new material suitable for laser AM. Cu7.2Ni1.8Si1Cr alloy could be the prospective material from the group of Cu alloys suitable for moulds manufacturing and thermal applications.