Relationship Between Powder Bed Temperature and Microstructure of Laser Sintered PA12 Parts

Kigure, T.
Yamauchi, Y.
Niino, T.
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University of Texas at Austin

The microstructure of a part from semi-crystalline polymers used in laser sintering gives a significant impact on the mechanical properties of the parts. The microstructure of laser sintering parts depends on powder bed temperature. If the powder bed temperature can be set in a wide range, it is also possible to control the microstructure of a part. The authors have been introducing a modified laser sintering process, namely low temperature process. The process allows powder bed temperature being set wide range. In this research, relationship between microstructure of PA12 parts by low-temperature process and powder bed temperature is investigated. As a result, high strength and crystallinity were obtained in high powder bed temperature, and high ductility and low crystallinity were obtained in low powder bed temperature. This result indicates that parts having the desired mechanical properties can be obtained by controlling the powder bed temperature.