Controlling Phase Composition in Selective Laser Melted Stainless Steels
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Commercially important stainless steels can be austenitic or martensitic and this phase composition fundamentally controls the mechanical properties of the material. With selective laser melting (SLM), 17-4 stainless steel can be produced in either phase depending on powder composition, SLM conditions and post-build heat treatment. This behavior is examined using optical and electron microscopy and high temperature x-ray diffraction in order to better understand the formation of metastable austenite and its transformation to martensite. Control of phase composition can produce a material with either extremely large strain-to-failure or high yield strength and can provide a method for completely eliminating residual stress.