Selective Laser Sintering of Binary Metallic Powder
A selective laser sintering technique has been used to process metal powders and powder blends. Precursor powders include copper, tin, a 70Pb-30Sn solder and their blends. Excessive balling due to surface free energy effects occurred in single layer tests when the laser fluence was sufficient to cause melting of monolithic tin or solder. Improvements in single layer quality were obtained using copper-solder powder blends in a reducing atmosphere. The binary powder layers were characterized metallographically and the effect of processing parameters such as laser fluence and scan speed were assessed. Post-process annealing improved interparticle wetting and part strength. The influence of ZnCl2 flux was investigated when present as a coating in copper-solder blends. Multiple layer tests were performed on the most promising powder blends and the results are presented.