Single-Track Laser Scanning as a Method for Evaluating Printability: The Effect of Substrate Heat Treatment on Melt Pool Geometry and Cracking in Medium Carbon Tool Steel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Nearly all commercially available alloys have been developed for manufacturing processes other than additive manufacturing. Most of those alloys are not suitable for laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) processing due to the non-weldable nature of the alloys developed for casting, forging, and machining. Even some weldable alloys can be difficult to produce with L-PBF because the characteristics of L-PBF, such as highly concentrated heat input and the extremely high cooling rate, can lead to very high residual stresses and cracking. In order to speed up the development process of new alloys for additive manufacturing, a powder-free evaluation method was used to evaluate the materials processing window and susceptibility to cracking. Single tracks were scanned with an L-PBF machine onto H13 steel substrates. The substrate condition was varied, and its effect on melt pool geometry and cracking behavior was evaluated. The results clearly show that thermal history of the substrate influences its thermal conductivity, affecting melt pool volume. Melting point of the substrate was not found as significant factor as thermal conductivity on melt pool dimensions. Cracking type was noted to differ between substrates. If printability is assessed without powder, the substrate microstructure should be similar to rapidly solidified material. It is recognized that single-track tests are not adequate in terms of residual stress evaluation, but they can give valuable information about materials’ melting, segregation, and micro-scale cracking behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Materials Engineering and Performance
Early online date4 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Apr 2022
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • additive manufacturing
  • cracking
  • single track
  • thermal conductivity
  • tool steel

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