Microstructural Analysis and Comparative Study of Powders Used in 3D Metal Printing
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The primary objective of this research was to perform a failure analysis on fatigue fractured Ti-6Al-4V coupons fabricated using additive manufacturing (AM), namely, selective laser sintering (SLS). Additionally, this study aimed to analyze and characterize the powders used to fabricate the coupons through each step of the additive manufacturing process up to printed parts. Microstructural features in both the fracture surface and base material were analyzed using optical and electron microscopy. The coupons were further analyzed with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) techniques and mechanical properties were measured. The powder used to fabricate the coupons was analyzed by optical and electron microscopy/EDS techniques to determine size, shape, elemental composition, and microstructure. Additionally, the powder was characterized through X-ray Diffraction (XRD) as well as Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA) and Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC). The merit of the work relies on gaining a better understanding of the evolution of the material characteristics, from raw powders to printed parts, to help reduce the risks associated with the use of the new AM fabrication techniques and aid the decision making process regarding material selection and processing parameters.
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