Engineers Show LPBF Microstructure Modification with Secondary Laser Cross

The microstructure of metals printed with LPBF strategies might be modified by tweaking sure course of parameters whereas the printing course of is underway.

Researchers from the College of Waterloo, Canada, have discovered {that a} secondary move of the laser after the printed part has cooled and solidified can even modify the microstructure of the printed part.

Parameter Impact on Microstructures

Usually, when printing with LPBF strategies, the microstructure (grain measurement and form) might be altered by various such parameters as laser scanning velocity, energy, interlayer rotation, and scanning technique. All of those tunable parameters immediately have an effect on the thermal historical past and solidification circumstances of the printed part, that are linked to components resembling solidification fee, temperature gradient, soften pool measurement and form, and others.

Earlier analysis into the impact of tuning the method parameters has proven that altering the velocity and energy of the laser may end up in the formation of coarser grains, in addition to a better share of grains forming in most well-liked instructions. Different analysis groups have demonstrated that altering the scanning technique to an XY scan may end up in anisotropy and extra ductility alongside the construct route. In different circumstances, it was discovered that rotating the route of the scan between layers can considerably affect the grain measurement and grain side ratio.


The researchers on the College of Waterloo experimented with a titanium alloy (particularly a plasma atomized Ti-5Al-5Mo-5V-3Cr powder feedstock), which has a variety of purposes in aerospace, though it’s utilized in touchdown gear design fairly a good bit. It’s most well-liked in aerospace attributable to its good processability and hardenability.

landing gear component
Typical utilization of Ti-5Al-5Mo-5V-3Cr alloy (touchdown gear part) (Picture credit score: Sandvik Coromant)

However naturally, additive manufacturing of this alloy has benefits over conventional manufacturing strategies resembling decreased value and elevated geometric complexity, the latter of which may finally contribute to lightweighting.

By passing the laser over the printed sections after they’d been printed and had solidified, the researchers had been capable of modify the microstructure and alter the grain measurement and route in-situ.

By instantly passing the laser over the solidified layer a second time, at a decrease energy than the primary move, it was noticed that one other skinny soften pool had fashioned on prime of the unique soften pool. The remelted layer then solidified over the primary layer, making a extra uniform solidification sample than the primary, leading to elongated grains that grew within the route of the construct.

Advantages of Laser Put up-Publicity

It was decided that the titanium elements printed with LPBF after which given a post-exposure blast with the laser to provoke remelting had been mechanically corresponding to elements made with directional solidification processes. That’s to say, they’d enhanced fatigue and creep resistance, that are undoubtedly properties which can be helpful to plane touchdown gear.

The printed samples had been minimize, floor, polished and etched, following the usual metallographic pattern preparation processes, and examined with an optical microscope to watch the soften pool boundaries. Additional analyses had been carried out with scanning electron microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction.

General it was proven that the samples had uniform and uninterrupted columnar grains with fewer high-angle grain boundaries detected within the vertical progress route. The typical size of the elongated grains was discovered to be 845 μm and the grains had a better diploma of group in comparison with the samples printed with out the laser post-exposure remedy.

The researchers level out that this was the primary time that in-situ modification with a laser had been carried out, post-solidification, and with the outcomes displaying that the printed samples had been corresponding to directionally solidified elements, it’s undoubtedly a promising technique of printing this specific titanium alloy.

You possibly can learn the complete (open entry) paper titled “In-situ microstructure management by laser post-exposure remedy throughout laser powder-bed fusion” in Additive manufacturing Letters, over at this hyperlink.


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