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Research Papers

Selective Laser Melting of Graphene-Reinforced Inconel 718 Superalloy: Evaluation of Microstructure and Tensile Performance

[+] Author and Article Information
Yachao Wang

Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
598 Rhodes Hall,
P.O. Box 210072,
Cincinnati, OH 45221
e-mail: wang3yc@mail.uc.edu

Jing Shi

Mem. ASME
Department of Mechanical and
Materials Engineering,
University of Cincinnati,
598 Rhodes Hall,
P.O. Box 210072,
Cincinnati, OH 45221
e-mail: jing.shi@uc.edu

Shiqiang Lu

School of Aeronautical
Manufacturing Engineering,
Nanchang Hangkong University,
696 Fenghe Road South,
Nanchang, Jiangxi 330063, China
e-mail: niatlusq@126.com

Yun Wang

School of Aircraft Engineering,
Nanchang Hangkong University,
696 Fenghe Road South,
Nanchang, Jiangxi 330063, China
e-mail: wangyun66@126.com

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MANUFACTURING SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 17, 2016; final manuscript received September 12, 2016; published online October 18, 2016. Editor: Y. Lawrence Yao.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 139(4), 041005 (Oct 18, 2016) (6 pages) Paper No: MANU-16-1439; doi: 10.1115/1.4034712 History: Received August 17, 2016; Revised September 12, 2016

Graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) have many outstanding properties, such as high mechanical strengths, light weight, and high electric conductivity. These unique properties make it an ideal reinforcement used for metal matrix composites (MMCs). In the past few years, many studies have been performed to incorporate GNPs into metal matrix and investigate the properties of obtained metal matrix composites. Meanwhile, fabrication of MMCs through laser-assisted additive manufacturing (LAAM) has attracted much attention in recent years due to the advantages of low waste, high precision, short production lead time, and high workpiece complexity capability. In this study, the two attractive features are combined to produce GNPs reinforced MMC using selective laser melting (SLM) process, one of the LAAM processes. The target metal matrix material is Inconel 718, a nickel-based Ni–Cr–Fe austenitic superalloy that possesses excellent workability and mechanical performance, and has wide applications in industries. In the experiment, pure Inconel 718 and GNPs reinforced Inconel 718 composites with two levels of GNPs content (i.e., 0.25 and 1 wt. %) are obtained by SLM. Note that before the SLM process, a novel powder mixture procedure is employed to ensure the even dispersion of GNPs in the Inconel 718 powders. Room temperature tensile tests are conducted to evaluate the tensile properties. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) observations are conducted to analyze the fracture surface of materials and to understand the reinforcing mechanism. It is found that fabrication of GNPs reinforced MMC using SLM is a viable approach. The obtained composite possesses dense microstructure and significantly enhanced tensile strength. The ultimate tensile strengths (UTSs) are 997.8, 1296.3, and 1511.6 MPa, and the Young's moduli are 475, 536, and 675 GPa, for 0 wt. % (pure Inconel 718), 0.25 wt. %, and 1 wt. % GNP additions, respectively. The bonding between GNPs and matrix material appears to be strong, and GNPs could be retained during the SLM process. The strengthening effect and mechanisms involved in the composites are discussed. Load transfer, thermal expansion coefficient mismatch, and dislocation hindering are believed to be the three main reinforcing mechanisms involved. It should be noted that more work needs to be conducted in the future to obtain more comprehensive information regarding other static and dynamic properties and the high-temperature performances of the GNP-reinforced MMCs produced by SLM. Process parameter optimization should also be investigated.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Inconel 718 powder mixed with 0.25 wt. % graphene

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Fig. 2

Close-up view of SLM process

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Fig. 3

Dimension of tensile test specimens

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Fig. 4

As-built tensile specimens

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Fig. 5

Optical micrographs of SLMed GNPs reinforced Inconel 718 on the cross sections parallel to (a) build direction and (b) scanning plane

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Fig. 6

Strain–stress curves obtained from tensile tests

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Fig. 7

SEM fractographs of (a) pure Inconel 718 and (b) Inconel 718 with 0.25 wt. % GNP addition

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Fig. 8

SEM micrographs showing GNPs attached to the fracture surface aligned (a) perpendicular to and (b) parallel to tensile direction and (c) EDS spectrum of GNPs, with 0.25 wt. % GNPs addition

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