Additive manufacturing (AM) of metal parts
Additive manufacturing (AM) of metal parts can be achieved using a variety of different process technologies, which use powder, wire or sheet as raw materials. The additive manufacturing process using metal powder as raw material is Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Electron Beam Melting (EBM) and Binder Jet Printing (BJP). These are called powder bed processes. SLM and EBM technologies use laser beams and electron beams to melt powder, respectively. The microstructure and mechanical properties of different alloy parts manufactured using these two technologies are the most widely reported in the research. On the contrary, there is relatively little exploration of the BJP process. The structure-performance correlation of metal parts produced by this process has not yet received widespread attention.
The main advantage of the BJP process is that it can (compared to other powder bed processes) produce parts at a relatively low cost and at a faster speed. The important thing is that it is applicable to any kind of alloy, and additive manufacturing using SLM/EBM technology can only be performed on a few alloys. The porosity level in BJP alloys is often very high, which may have a profound impact on its performance. A researcher studied the microstructure, porosity and its effect on tensile and high cycle fatigue (HCF) behavior of 316L austenitic stainless steel with different manufacturing processes.
In general, BJP and CM 316L stainless steels have strong work hardening ability, which gives them great ductility. SLM alloy has a high yield strength, but dislocations cross slip at the beginning of plastic deformation, which shortens the work hardening process and affects ductility. The results of this research can guide the design of additive manufacturing alloys: the higher porosity of BJP does not adversely affect the high-cycle fatigue performance, but it reduces the yield strength. Therefore, reducing the porosity can basically increase the yield strength of BJP parts, making it the same as that of CM alloy. For SLM specimens, it is obvious that insufficient fusion pores should be reduced to a minimum (if not completely eliminated) to reduce overall porosity and increase fatigue strength.
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