The award will expand the company’s ongoing research and development of 3D printing for beryllium and aluminum-beryllium alloys.

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio—Advanced Materials supplier Materion Corporation was recently awarded a $5 million contract from the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (US-AFRL) to expand its ongoing research and development of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, for beryllium and aluminum-beryllium alloys, the company said in a release.

Expanding additive manufacturing capabilities for these specialized materials would enable significant advantages in the production and performance of optics structures, guidance systems, and thermal management applications used in defense and aerospace markets, Materion said in the release.

Additive manufacturing provides greater precision and efficiency in the production of lighter weight, complex components that could not be made via traditional processes. Combining these production benefits with the unique property attributes of beryllium would enable design optimization and increased equipment capabilities of optical systems, as well as space-based connectivity and mobility technologies, the company said.

“Our additive manufacturing laboratory has demonstrated the viability of beryllium additive manufacturing, and we look forward to working with the US-AFRL to advance into a new phase of our research and development efforts,” said Clive Grannum, president, Materion Performance Materials, in the release. “With our long history innovating beryllium solutions, we have the expertise to operationalize these specialized manufacturing techniques for existing and new customers who need more complex components for their next-generation applications.”

Materion said the two-year US-AFRL contract will support the labor, material, and operating costs to develop processes for multiple deposition technologies in a safe and expandable environment, as well as for related support technologies for pre- and post- processing of powder and material inputs, structures, and components.

Materion Corporation is a supplier of advanced materials for high-performance industries,  including semiconductor, industrial, aerospace and defense, energy, and automotive. The company said it has nearly 100 years of expertise in specialty engineered alloy systems, inorganic chemicals and powders, precious and non-precious metals, beryllium and beryllium composites, and precision filters and optical coatings.