Comparison of Density of Stainless Steel 316L Parts Produced with Selective Laser Melting using Different Powder Grades

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Spierings, A.B.
Levy, G.

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University of Texas at Austin


Selective Laser Melting is a powder based additive manufacturing process where the metallic powder particles are fused to 3D parts using a high energy laser beam. Much work has already been conducted to investigate the details of the process, suitable materials and process parameters and further more. As metallic powders are the raw material for this process, there are still a lot of open questions relating to suitable grain size distributions for dense parts with regard to productivity, surface quality, mechanical strength and ductility. The present work shows the results of density measurements of parts, produced using three different particle size distributions and different energy densities of the laser beam. Two layer thicknesses of 30μm and 45μm were investigated. It is shown that without a minimal amount of fine grains, which are able to fill the voids between the coarse grains, lower scan speeds are needed in order to produce dense parts. Furthermore, the differences in the relation of the powders to the densities, the layer thicknesses and laser scan speeds indicate, that the powder grain size distribution plays an important role and that should be taken into account for optimal results. This work is a contribution to the ASTM initiative F42 for “Additive Manufacturing”.


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