Is there any material that you mix/alloy with copper that

  • will result in something that behaves similar to plastic (that is at room temperature it is solid, at maybe 500K or similar it can be easily formed/3D printed)
  • When heated even more (700K?) it will make the the included copper melt, and dissolves itself, leaving only solid copper.

Is this even theoretically possible? The main goal is to significantly reduce the temperatures involved, 700K is a ballpark number here. Also it doesn't need to be very thick if this makes things easier.

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    $\begingroup$ When heated even more (700K?) it will make the the included copper melt, and dissolves itself, leaving only solid copper. You may be able to make an alloy with a melting point below 500K, but you cannot remove the other metals simply by applying heat. Carbon compounds are burn away above 700K, which is why the plastic binders work. $\endgroup$ – LDC3 Dec 27 '14 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ @LDC3: The problem with those though seems to be that what is left isn't solid copper, is it? $\endgroup$ – PlasmaHH Dec 27 '14 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ That's what I implied, alloys are not going to give you the result that you specified. The plastic binder does, since the carbon compounds are burned away. $\endgroup$ – LDC3 Dec 27 '14 at 19:14

The usual metal 3D-printing processes usually involve metal powder and a plastic binder. After printing, the green part is sintered. See this.

  • $\begingroup$ I know that very well, but I wasn't asking how it is currently being done, I was merely exploring (theoretical) alternative methods. $\endgroup$ – PlasmaHH Nov 27 '14 at 16:22
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    $\begingroup$ You are asking for some material/process that can (a) make some metal powder hold shape and (b) upon heating, goes away. A plastic binder that burns off while the green piece is sintering together fits the requirement rather nicely. I can't think of anything that dissolves in the metallic phase to reduce processing temperature that subsequently evaporates because generally speaking, only metals dissolve in other metals. There isn't much available with boiling point below the melting point of copper, except, of course, mercury. $\endgroup$ – Abel Friedman Nov 27 '14 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the question isn't clear then, but the point is to do this at significantly lower temperatures than copper melting point. Ideally at around 700K. $\endgroup$ – PlasmaHH Nov 27 '14 at 16:42
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    $\begingroup$ There has been lots of good work of late in using nanoparticles to reduce the melting point in the direct write process. More classical metallurgy (using eutectics and whatnot) can not accomplish what you want. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer Nov 28 '14 at 14:45

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