Effects of Powder Attributes and Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) Process Conditions on the Densification and Mechanical Properties of 17-4 PH Stainless Steel
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The effects of powders attributes (shape and size distribution) and critical processing conditions (energy density) on the densification and mechanical properties of laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) 17-4 PH stainless steel were studied using four types of powders. The % theoretical density, ultimate tensile strength and hardness of both water- and gas-atomized powders increased with increased energy density. Gas-atomized powders showed superior densification and mechanical properties when processed at low energy densities. However, the % theoretical density and mechanical properties of water-atomized powders were comparable to gas-atomized powders when sintered at a high energy density of 104 J/mm3. An important result of this study was that, even at high % theoretical density (97% ± 1%), the properties of as-printed parts could vary over a relatively large range (UTS: 500–1100 MPa; hardness: 25–39 HRC; elongation: 10–25%) depending on powder characteristics and process conditions. The results also demonstrate the feasibility of using relatively inexpensive water-atomized powders as starting raw material instead of the typically used gas-atomized powders to fabricate parts using L-PBF techniques by sintering at high energy densities.
The authors thank the Walmart Foundation for funding the research project.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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