Investigating Applicability of Surface Roughness Parameters in Describing the Metallic AM Process

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Taylor, Samantha
Jared, Bradley
Koepke, Josh
Forrest, Eric
Beaman, Joseph

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University of Texas at Austin


Additive manufacturing (AM) is known for its large variance in mechanical properties. This is not only true for properties like strength, but also surface roughness. Build settings, which affect surface roughness, are often chosen to optimize strength or ductility. As part requirements change, build settings change, thereby changing resultant surface roughness. When describing surfaces, arithmetic roughness (Ra) is the most common parameter. However, it may not provide an adequate representation of surface topography for AM parts. Traditional surface roughness parameters for defining surface topography were well-established before the advent of AM, and a need has arisen to investigate applicability of these parameters to the unusual surfaces created through various AM technologies. This study demonstrates that Ra is not a suitable parameter in correlating surface topography to AM build parameters. Other existing parameters and combination of parameters will be investigated for their suitability in describing the AM process.


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