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Research Papers

Selective Laser Melting of Mechanically Alloyed Metastable Al5Fe2 Powders

[+] Author and Article Information
Hugo Montiel

Department of Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering,
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,
Edinburg, TX 78539
e-mail: hugo.montiel01@utrgv.edu

Ben Xu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,
Edinburg, TX 78539
e-mail: ben.xu@utrgv.edu

Jianzhi Li

Department of Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering,
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley,
Edinburg, TX 78539
e-mail: jianzhi.li@utrgv.edu

1Corresponding authors.

Manuscript received April 5, 2018; final manuscript received April 28, 2019; published online May 21, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Johnson Samuel.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 141(7), 071008 (May 21, 2019) (12 pages) Paper No: MANU-18-1208; doi: 10.1115/1.4043730 History: Received April 05, 2018; Accepted May 03, 2019

Aluminum alloys, which are high-strength lightweight materials, were processed by selective laser melting (SLM) with high-energy consumption and poor finish due to quick heat dissipation. Previous investigations reported that SLM with 300 W laser power and 500 mm/s scanning speed can process the aluminum alloys, such as Al-Si12 and AlSi10Mg. This work aims to process the powders to alter their properties and to reduce the laser intensity required in the process, and it also reports that the SLM-processed Al–Fe alloys utilize the metastable alloy by mechanical alloying (MA). The elemental Al and Fe powders were first alloyed in a ball mill in a relative short time period (∼15 h) employing high milling intensities, high ball-to-powder ratio (≥20:1), and high milling velocities (≥400 rpm), which produced fine metastable Al–Fe powders, and these powders were processed later by the SLM. The optimum laser power, the scanning speed, hatch distance, and substrate temperature were investigated by a series of experiments. Experimental results indicated that decreasing the laser energy density while increasing the laser scanning speed can benefit for smoother laser hatch lines, and the metastable Al5Fe2 alloy powders can be processed and stabilized under a 200-W laser energy density and a scanning speed of 1000 mm/s. It is expected that the combination of pre-excited materials in a metastable phase will open a new window to optimize the SLM process for aluminum alloys and other metallic alloys.

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Topics: Lasers , Melting , Alloys , Milling
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Figures

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Fig. 1

Particle morphology of (a) Al and (b) Fe elemental powders

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Fig. 2

Al75–Fe25 milled samples: 4, 8, 12, and 15 h

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Fig. 3

Customized aluminum substrate (10 × 10 cm) with 16 cavities

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Fig. 4

XRD spectrum of (a) as-mixed Al–Fe powder before milling (0 h); (b) 4 h of MA; (c) 8 h of MA; (d) 12 h of MA; and (e) 15 h of MA. Note: In each XRD spectrum chart, the top plot shows the raw data with background noise and the bottom plot shows the XRD spectrum after removing the noise by the software

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Fig. 5

SEM: morphology evolution of mixed powders at different milling times: (a) 4 h, (b) 8 h, (c) 12 h, and (d) 15 h

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Fig. 6

Change of average particle size through the entire 15 h milling

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Fig. 7

Selected area for EDS analysis in an SEM image of milled powder at 15 h

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Fig. 8

XRD spectrum of SLM-processed sample for the third test series (200 W laser power, 5 mm/s scanning speed, 100 µm hatch distance, 170 °C preheated substrate)

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Fig. 9

XRD spectrum of SLM-processed sample for the fourth test series (200 W laser power and 1000 mm/s scanning speed)

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Fig. 10

Test matrix of the SLM-processed metastable Al5Fe2 for the fourth test series

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Fig. 11

SEM images of the top surface of (a) 1000 mm/s and (b) 2200 mm/s at 200 W laser power

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Fig. 12

SEM images of the inner layers of (a) 1000 mm/s and (b) 2200 mm/s at 200 W laser power

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