Additive Manufacturing of Fatigue Resistant Materials: Avoiding the Early Life Crack Initiation Mechanisms During Fabrication
The full potential of additive manufacturing (AM) has been limited by the process induced defects within the fabricated materials. Defects such as lack of fusions and gas entrapped pores act as stress concentrators and result in premature fatigue crack initiation, severely limiting the applicability of AM in fatigue-critical applications. However, by understanding the failure mechanisms associated with AM materials and leveraging the intimate localized thermal input (i.e. process conditions), the failure mechanisms for some materials may be avoided during the fabrication process. This study investigates the crack initiation behavior of an AM austenitic stainless steels subjected to fatigue testing. The microstructural features responsible for fatigue crack initiation are captured at the surface by ex-situ electron backscatter diffraction. Results show that the higher cooling rates during AM offer the opportunity to fabricate fatigue resistant austenitic stainless steel parts by avoiding the microstructural features that are most detrimental to fatigue performance.