A Japanese research team confirmed that it is possible to align the periodic sequence of atoms by using an electron beam melting machine, a kind of 3D printer, to form powder of medical cobalt-chrome alloy.

The research team is led by Akihiko Chiba, professor at the Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University. Medical cobalt-chrome alloys are used as materials for artificial hip joints, etc.

It is possible to add anisotropy to material properties such as elastic coefficient by aligning crystal orientation, enabling to make use of the anisotropy in designing artificial joints. The research team considers that a similar phenomenon occurs with other alloys, expecting that the new technology will be used to form other metal parts such as the turbine blades of engines.