Fatigue Performance of Powder Metallurgy (PM) Ti-6Al-4V Alloy: A Critical Analysis of Current Fatigue Data and Metallurgical Approaches for Improving Fatigue Strength
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A comprehensive assessment of fatigue performance of powder metallurgy (PM) Ti-6Al-4V alloy, manufactured using various powder-based processing approaches to-date, is performed in this work. The focus is on PM processes that use either blended element (BE) or pre-alloyed (PA) powder as feedstock. Porosity and the microstructure condition have been found to be the two most dominant material variables that control the fatigue strength. The evaluation reveals that the fatigue performance of PM Ti-6Al-4V, in the as-sintered state, is far lower than that in the wrought condition. This is largely caused by residual porosity, even if it is present in small amounts, or, by the coarse lamellar colony microstructure. The fatigue strength is significantly improved by the closure of pores, and it approaches the levels of wrought Ti-6Al-4V alloys, after hot-isostatic-pressing (HIPing). Further thermo-mechanical and heat treatments lead to additional increases in fatigue strength–in one case, a high fatigue strength level, exceeding that of the mill-annealed condition, was achieved. The work identifies the powder, process and microstructure improvements that are necessary for achieving high fatigue strength in powder metallurgical Ti-6Al-4V alloys in order for them to effectively compete with wrought forms. The present findings, gathered from the traditional titanium powder metallurgy, are also directly applicable to additively manufactured titanium, because of the similarities in pores, defects, and microstructures between the two manufacturing processes.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the US Department of Energy, Innovative Manufacturing Initiative (DEEE0005761), through the Advanced Manufacturing Office and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
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