Effects of Process Time Interval on the Mechanical and Microstructural Properties of Direct Laser Deposited 316L Stainless Steel
Yadollahi, A., Shamsaei, N., Thompson, S.M., & Seely, D. W. (2015). Effects of Process Time Interval on the Mechanical and Microstructural Properties of Direct Laser Deposited 316L Stainless Steel. Materials Science and Engineering: A. Elsevier. 644, 171-183. DOI:10.1016/j.msea.2015.07.056.
The mechanical and microstructural properties of 316L stainless steel (SS) fabricated via Direct Laser Deposition (DLD), a laser-based additive manufacturing method, are presented and compared with those of conventionally-built counterparts. Using a Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS®) DLD system, the time interval between successive layer deposits, or inter-layer/idle time, for fabricating cylindrical specimens vertically-upward was varied by building either one or nine samples per build plate – thus increasing total assembly volume per build. Subsequently, the effect of thermal history, as well as heat treatment, on microstructural (i.e. grain size and morphology) and mechanical (i.e. tensile, compression, and microhardness) properties of DLD parts were investigated. Results indicate that the DLD 316L SS samples produced herein have a higher yield and ultimate tensile strength relative to their cast and wrought forms. Furthermore, the thermal history, microstructural evolution, and mechanical properties of DLD 316L SS are shown to be dependent on the time interval between deposits. Longer local time intervals result in higher cooling rates, leading to finer microstructures, higher/uniform strength and lower elongation to failure. In addition, porosity and less integral metallurgical bonds are found to be more prevalent in locations further upward from the build plate due to reduced laser penetration depths (e.g. previous-layer remelting decreases). Conversely, parts manufactured with shorter time intervals were found to possess a coarser microstructure, lower strength and higher elongation to failure – attributable to lower cooling rates caused by an increased bulk temperature in the part. These results may aid in future design and control of more efficient, constant-power DLD processes – especially with regard to building multiple and/or larger parts; an approach desirable for minimizing small-to-medium lot production times.