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Expert Insight

Rapid Alloy Development for AM Using Automated Alloy Screening Methods and EHLA

Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies offer the possibility of manufacturing complex parts which cannot be manufactured using conventional manufacturing technologies. AM technologies, such as Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) feature unique processing conditions which are characterized by small melt pool sizes and high cooling rates up to 107 K/s. Despite these differences to conventional manufacturing technologies, mostly well- established conventional alloys are applied which are not adapted to AM process particularities. There are only a handful of alloys, such as Scalmalloy®, specifically designed for AM processes. Alloy development is a time and resource consuming process without a guarantee for success. In addition, no other conventional manufacturing technology can reproduce the unique processing conditions of LPBF, which makes the targeted development of new materials even harder.

A possible solution to overcome these challenges are rapid alloy development (RAD) approaches. Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) employs thermodynamical simulations of expected phases and solidification simulations to gain further insight into the
microstructure and resulting properties. Promising alloys are then further tested experimentally in the AM process, usually in a first step by dry mixing of multiple elemental or pre-alloyed powders. For high throughput testing, the Extreme High Laser Application (EHLA) is used.

A new machine allows to transfer this technology to real 3D applications, which makes it feasible for high throughput sample production. Samples from elemental powders without pre-blending can be produced with different chemical compositions on one build plate. These
samples will be further analysed before the third step of this approach is initiated. It consists of a deep analysis of the most promising compositions using custom pre-alloyed powders.

Tags

  • Solutions for Additive Manufacturing