Finding keyholes in metals 3D printing

ScienceDaily | 2/22/2019 | Staff
TitanSwimr (Posted by) Level 3
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New research published today in Science (will have hyperlink to paper), led by researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Argonne National Laboratory, has identified how and when these gas pockets form, as well as a methodology to predict their formation -- a pivotal discovery that could dramatically improve the 3D printing process.

"The research in this paper will translate into better quality control and better control of working with the machines," said Anthony Rollett, a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and an author on the paper. "For additive manufacturing to really take off for the majority of companies, we need to improve the consistency of the finished products. This research is a major step in that direction."

Scientists - X-rays - Argonne - Advanced - Photon

The scientists used the extremely bright high-energy X-rays at Argonne's Advanced Photon Source (APS), a DOE Office of Science User Facility, to take super-fast video and images of a process called Laser Power Bed Fusion (LPBF), in which lasers are used to melt and fuse material powder together.

The lasers, which scan over each layer of powder to fuse metal where it is needed, literally create the finished product from the ground up. Defects can form when pockets of gas become trapped into these layers, causing imperfections that could lead to cracks or other breakdowns in the final product.

Manufacturers - Researchers - Laser - Metal - Cavities

Until now, manufacturers and researchers did not know much about how the laser drills into the metal, producing cavities called "vapor depressions," but they assumed that the type of metal powder or strength of laser were to blame. As a result, manufacturers have been using a trial and error approach with different types of metals and lasers to seek to reduce the defects.

In fact, the research shows that these vapor depressions exist under nearly all conditions in the process, no matter the laser...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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