TOWARDS THE LIMITS IN COPPER LATTICE PRODUCTION VIA FIBER LASER POWDER BED FUSION

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Date

2023

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University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

Additive manufacturing of copper, by means of Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF), paves the way for innovation in thermal systems and heat transfer devices. Recent simulations have shown that by interchanging typical fin designs with more complex structures, an overall improvement in pressure drop and weight can be obtained while offering the same thermal performance. Here, small-scale lattice structures are especially of interest for AM as they form a reliable, periodic infill. However, until now, their study has been mainly theoretical. To analyze these structures in more detail, an in-house built LPBF machine at KU Leuven has been successfully used to manufacture pure copper parts. Measurements showed a conductivity exceeding 100%IACS, which is the result of low contamination and low porosity in the as-built material. In this work, the parameter optimization for thin-walled lattices is discussed, the limitations in terms of minimal feature size are described and physical mechanisms behind these limitations are uncovered.

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