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Role of laser scan strategies in defect control, microstructural evolution and mechanical properties of steel matrix composites prepared by laser additive manufacturing

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  • Received: 14 June 2020Revised: 29 June 2020Accepted: 2 July 2020Available online: 5 July 2020
  • Steel matrix composites (SMCs) reinforced with WC-particles were fabricated via selective laser melting (SLM) by employing various laser scan strategies. A detailed relationship between the SLM strategies, defect formation, microstructural evolution as well as mechanical properties of SMCs was established. The laser scan strategies can be manipulated to deliberately alter the thermal history of SMC during SLM-processing. Particularly, the involved thermal cycling encompassing multiple layers strongly affects the processing quality of SMCs. S-shaped scan sequence combined with interlayer offset and orthogonal stagger mode can effectively eliminate the metallurgical defects and retained austenite within the produced SMCs. However, due to large thermal stress, microcracks, perpendicular to the building direction, are generally formed within the SMCs. By employing the checkerboard filling (CBF) hatching mode, the thermal stress arising during SLM can be significantly reduced, so that the evolution of interlayer microcracks can be prevented. The compressive properties of the fabricated SMCs can be tailored at a high compressive strength (~3031.5 MPa) and fracture strain (~24.8%) by adopting the CBF hatching mode combined with optimized scan sequence and stagger mode. This study demonstrates great feasibility of tuning the mechanical properties of SLM-fabricated SMCs parts without varying the set energy input, e.g. laser power and scanning speed.
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Role of laser scan strategies in defect control, microstructural evolution and mechanical properties of steel matrix composites prepared by laser additive manufacturing

  • Corresponding author:

    Dong-dong Gu    E-mail: dongdonggu@nuaa.edu.cn

  • 1. College of Materials Science and Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
  • 2. Jiangsu Provincial Engineering Laboratory for Laser Additive Manufacturing of High-Performance Metallic Components, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
  • 3. Leibniz IFW Dresden, Institute for Complex Materials, Helmholtzstr. 20, 01069 Dresden, Germany

Abstract: Steel matrix composites (SMCs) reinforced with WC-particles were fabricated via selective laser melting (SLM) by employing various laser scan strategies. A detailed relationship between the SLM strategies, defect formation, microstructural evolution as well as mechanical properties of SMCs was established. The laser scan strategies can be manipulated to deliberately alter the thermal history of SMC during SLM-processing. Particularly, the involved thermal cycling encompassing multiple layers strongly affects the processing quality of SMCs. S-shaped scan sequence combined with interlayer offset and orthogonal stagger mode can effectively eliminate the metallurgical defects and retained austenite within the produced SMCs. However, due to large thermal stress, microcracks, perpendicular to the building direction, are generally formed within the SMCs. By employing the checkerboard filling (CBF) hatching mode, the thermal stress arising during SLM can be significantly reduced, so that the evolution of interlayer microcracks can be prevented. The compressive properties of the fabricated SMCs can be tailored at a high compressive strength (~3031.5 MPa) and fracture strain (~24.8%) by adopting the CBF hatching mode combined with optimized scan sequence and stagger mode. This study demonstrates great feasibility of tuning the mechanical properties of SLM-fabricated SMCs parts without varying the set energy input, e.g. laser power and scanning speed.

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