The scientific element of Creative Metallurgy is broadly equivalent to the engineering discipline of Powder Metallurgy (PM), where finely powdered metals and alloys are produced, usually for later embodiment in complex metal forms such as crankshafts or engine blocks.
However where PM’s main applications are in the bulk production of mechanical forms that would otherwise take many hours to manually machine from solid blocks, CM is aimed entirely at the low volume production run or bespoke marketplace that 3D printing technologies serve.
The science of powdered metals is complex and relatively new, with fresh formulations and applications being developed every day.
The 20th century focus on the production of complex mechanical forms as a means to reduce or remove costly manufacturing processes is here to stay, especially in high value auto trade, but there are functions that cannot be replicated by solid metals and require that powders and their downstream products be used.
In battery and catalyst technologies, for example, the vastly increased surface area provided by powdered materials gives massively increased opportunities for surface chemistry to be utilised, whether it be as a charge retention site or a means to provide a nucleation site.
Semi-sintered powdered and honey-comb forms provide greatly improved strength-to-weight ratios for structural elements and composite form elements (where two or more adjacent mechanical parts are produced as a single component) remove the need for heavy, and prone to failure, joins in structures such as wings and rotors.
So there has been, and continues to be, a lot of basic science carried out in the field of Powder Metallurgy and we bring as much of that science as we need to the production metallic and intermetallic powders whose end use is not a critical component of a jet engine or the unseen grommet whose use transforms the economic performance of an engine.
Creative Metallurgy is the science of PM applied to the production or recogition of emotional responses in a material form, whether it be an item of jewellery bought to commemorate a significant life event or the finishing touches to a building whose form and function are combined to communicate an architect’s vision.
The core idea of Creative Metallurgy is then to provide the finish to designed form and function.