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Laser powder-bed fusion of biodegradable Fe–Mn alloy: melt-pool solidification

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Abstract

As biodegradable materials, Fe–Mn alloys have a lot of promise, particularly because they can be employed as metallic implants with excellent mechanical properties. Besides allowing for patient customisation, powder-bed fusion of these alloys could help overcome their main drawback, i.e., slow degradation inside the human body, by increasing the component surface with inbuilt structural porosity. The quality of additive-manufactured products depends on their temperature history, making knowledge of the heat-transfer characteristics of the powder-bed fusion process very important. While accurate determinations of temperature gradients and the melt-pool sizes still represent a considerable challenge for all materials, this is particularly true for Fe–Mn alloys, where research is currently limited to a handful of pioneering works, and experimental determinations of the melt-pool contours prove extremely difficult and unreliable. To explore the origins of measurement inconsistency, melt-pool compositions of Fe–Mn specimens were analysed in the scope of this research. Concentric patterns of high- and low-Mn content practically indistinguishable from the melt-pool boundary on the macroscale were revealed within the melt-pool. A microscopic analysis of elemental content distribution was performed and the concentric patterns were attributed to the pronounced segregation of the alloy in conjunction with convective currents. A novel, calibration-free 3D finite-element model of heat transfer during laser powder-bed fusion is proposed to overcome these experimental difficulties and validated against the experimental melt-pool measurements.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Jakob Kraner for performing the LPBF fabrication of samples and Tina Sever for the metallographic sample preparation and microscopy. Credit also goes to Črtomir Donik for his help with the EDS mappings. All the constructive comments by the unknown reviewer are greatly appreciated.

Funding

The authors acknowledge the financial support from the Slovenian Research Agency (research project funding No. J2-1729 and core funding No. P2-0132).

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Correspondence to Tijan Mede.

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Appendix A: Numerical model validation

Appendix A: Numerical model validation

To test the accuracy of the developed numerical model, it was applied to the experimental configurations used in the AMB2018-02 additive manufacturing benchmark test series [61]. The experiment consisted of multiple single-track scans performed on an Inconel 625 bare plate (no powder), using NIST EOS M270 powder-bed fusion system. A 1070 nm continuous wave laser with beam diameter of 100 \(\upmu \)m was used, where beam diameter is defined as the width of the beam at which the Gaussian beam intensity drops to 1/\(e^2\) (\(\sim \)13.5%). Three different configurations were tested: case A with laser power \(P=150\) W and scanning speed of \(v=400\) \(\mathrm {mm \, s^{-1}}\), case‘ B with laser power \(P=195\) W and scanning speed of \(v=800\) \(\mathrm {mm \, s^{-1}}\), and case C with laser power \(P=195\) W and scanning speed of \(v=1200\) \(\mathrm {mm \, s^{-1}}\). Laser tracks were cross-sectioned perpendicular to the laser track and measured using optical microscopy.

Table 2 Simulated and experimental values of the melt-pool dimensions for the AMB2018-02 benchmark series

The temperature-dependent material parameters of Inconel 625 were obtained using JMatPro software and identical procedure as described in Sect. 2.2 was applied to perform the simulations. The mean measurements of the melt-pool dimensions as well as the simulated values are presented in Table 2. While the numerical model is observed to capture the measured melt-pool widths relatively well, the simulated melt-pool widths are notably amplified. Nevertheless, the accuracy of these simulated results is well in line with the current state-of-the-art approaches [59], using no prior calibration.

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Mede, T., Kocjan, A., Paulin, I. et al. Laser powder-bed fusion of biodegradable Fe–Mn alloy: melt-pool solidification. Appl. Phys. A 128, 739 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00339-022-05851-z

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