International Journal of Metalcasting

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 843–856 | Cite as

Hypoeutectic Aluminum–Silicon Alloy Development for GMAW-Based 3-D Printing Using Wedge Castings

  • Amberlee S. Haselhuhn
  • Paul G. Sanders
  • Joshua M. Pearce


Alloy development can simplify low-cost gas metal arc weld (GMAW)-based 3-D printing by making it easier to print quality parts with minimal metallurgical or welding experience. Previous work found good properties in aluminum alloys, particularly in the aluminum–silicon 4943 (Al–5.5%Si–0.4%Mg) and 4047 (Al–11.6%Si) alloys. These alloys were easy to print, but could benefit from alloying to increase ductility and to minimize or redistribute porosity. The purpose of this study was to modify 4943 and 4047 alloys and rapidly screen their performance for use as feedstock for improved 3-D printability. The 4047- and 4943-based alloys were modified with additions of magnesium, strontium, titanium boride, and combinations thereof. Wedge-shaped castings were used to efficiently screen alloying additions over the same ranges of solidification rates as those observed in GMAW-based 3-D printing. The alloying additions were most effective at modifying the high-silicon 4047 alloy, whereas no change in microstructure was observed in the low-silicon 4943 alloy. Strontium was an effective modifier of the high-silicon alloy. Titanium boride was not observed to have a grain-refining effect on aluminum dendrites on its own, although the combination of strontium and titanium boride produced the most refined eutectic structure in the high-silicon alloy. Future work should evaluate the singular effects of strontium, titanium boride, and the combination of strontium and titanium boride additions in weld-based 3-D printing.


3-D printing additive manufacturing aluminum alloy development metal casting casting 



The authors wish to acknowledge valuable casting and chemical analysis assistance from P. Quimby, polishing assistance from V. Thole, and helpful discussions with Dr. Stephen Kampe and Dr. Thomas Dorin. The authors would also like to acknowledge support and helpful discussions with C. Hsu and technical assistance from the Miller Electric Manufacturing Company. This material is based on research sponsored by Air Force Research Laboratory under agreement number FA8650-12-2-7230. The US Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of Air Force Research Laboratory or the US Government.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of interest exist.


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Copyright information

© American Foundry Society 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amberlee S. Haselhuhn
    • 1
  • Paul G. Sanders
    • 1
  • Joshua M. Pearce
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMichigan Technological UniversityHoughtonUSA

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