Tensile Properties and Microstructures of Laser-Formed Ti-6Al-4V
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The room temperature tensile properties of Ti-6Al-4V alloy prepared under two different processing routes were evaluated and compared. One group of samples was prepared by conventional casting-forging-rolling into flat plates. The other group was prepared by using Triton’s Laser Free-Form Fabrication (LF3)™ processes, i.e., a laser was used to melt pre-alloyed powders of the required metallic composition as they were dropped onto a moveable substrate programmed to move in such a manner as to form a solid alloy plate. Five populations of Ti-6Al-4V were evaluated: a standard wrought form, an as-deposited form, a machined as-deposited form, a heat-treated as-deposited form, and a machined as-deposited and heat-treated form. The poorest mechanical properties occurred with the rough surfaces, likely due to existing microcracks and stress concentrations. The LF3™ as-deposited material had mechanical properties comparable to, if not higher than, the mechanical properties of the wrought material. Further evaluations of the laser-formed material for complex spacecraft piece parts were warranted, specifically in regards to improving the surface finish of the materials.