Process-Structure-Property Relationships for 316L Stainless Steel Fabricated by Additive Manufacturing and Its Implication for Component Engineering

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Journal Article
Journal of Thermal Spray Technology, 2017, 26 (4), pp. 610 - 626
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© 2016, ASM International. We investigate the process-structure-property relationships for 316L stainless steel prototyping utilizing 3-D laser engineered net shaping (LENS), a commercial direct energy deposition additive manufacturing process. The study concluded that the resultant physical metallurgy of 3-D LENS 316L prototypes is dictated by the interactive metallurgical reactions, during instantaneous powder feeding/melting, molten metal flow and liquid metal solidification. The study also showed 3-D LENS manufacturing is capable of building high strength and ductile 316L prototypes due to its fine cellular spacing from fast solidification cooling, and the well-fused epitaxial interfaces at metal flow trails and interpass boundaries. However, without further LENS process control and optimization, the deposits are vulnerable to localized hardness variation attributed to heterogeneous microstructure, i.e., the interpass heat-affected zone (HAZ) from repetitive thermal heating during successive layer depositions. Most significantly, the current deposits exhibit anisotropic tensile behavior, i.e., lower strain and/or premature interpass delamination parallel to build direction (axial). This anisotropic behavior is attributed to the presence of interpass HAZ, which coexists with flying feedstock inclusions and porosity from incomplete molten metal fusion. The current observations and findings contribute to the scientific basis for future process control and optimization necessary for material property control and defect mitigation.
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