Microstructure and Texture of Additive Manufactured Ti-6Al-4V

Abstract: Additive manufacturing (AM) for metals is a manufacturing process that has increased a lot in popularity last few years as it has experienced significant improvements since its beginning, both when it comes to accuracy and deposition rates. There are many different AM processes where the energy sources and deposition methods varies. But the common denominator is their layer wise manufacturing process, melting layer on layer. AM has a great design freedom compared to conventional manufacturing, making it possible to design new structures with decreased weight and increased performance.  A drawback is slow manufacturing speeds, making it more expensive. But when it comes to low lot sizes and complex structures AM is very competitive. So, for the aerospace and space industry AM is a good option as manufacturing cost is less of an issue and where saving weight is of great concern, both environmentally and economically.  There are however many topics left to research before additive manufactured titanium can be widely adopted for critical components, such as microstructure and texture development and its correlation to mechanical properties. The aim of this work has been to investigate the microstructure and texture of various AM processes. Microstructural features such as prior β grains, grain boundary α (GB-α), α laths, α colonies have been characterized along with hardness measurements for 5 different AM processes. Some of these AM processes have also been investigated in the SKAT instrument in Dubna, Russia, to obtain their texture. These textures have then been compared with one another and correlated to previous microstructural investigations and mechanical properties. This is important knowledge as the microstructure and the texture sets the basis for the mechanical properties. In case there is a high texture, the material can have anisotropic mechanical behavior, which could be either wanted or unwanted for different applications.  Some the findings are that α phase was found to increase in the prior β grain boundary for the AM processes with low cooling rates, while it was discontinuous and even non-present for the AM processes with high cooling rates. The prior β size are larger for the directed energy deposition (DED) processes than for the powder bed fusion (PBF) processes. Parallel bands were present for the DED process while being non-present for the PBF processes. Concerning the texture, it was found that LMwD had a higher texture than EBM and SLM. Texture inhomogeneity was also found for the LMwD process., where two parts of the same sample was investigated and the material closer to the surface had higher texture.