Fundamentals of Liquid Phase Sintering During Selective Laser Sintering
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One of the advantages of the Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) process is that a variety of materials can be processed. However, the goal of being able to produce fully dense metal parts with no post processing has been elusive. Using Selective Laser Sintering to produce metal parts with full density without post processing poses a challenge since both the processing conditions and the metal system must be controlled. This article describes two metallurgical mechanisms by which loose metal powder beds could be sintered to nearly full density using a scanning laser beam. The mechanisms are particle rearrangement during liquid phase sintering (LPS) and in-situ infiltration. Some of the particles, when heated by the laser radiation, melt and form a liquid. Ifthis liquid has certain physical properties (e.g., low viscosity and high surface tension) and wets the other solid particles, then the SLS process can in theory produce dense layers by either mechanism. The purpose of this study is to determine the process and material selection parameters required to achieve fully dense parts during direct Selective Laser Sintering of metal.