Anisotropic mechanical behaviors and microstructural evolution of thin-walled additively manufactured metals

Abstract: Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is a concept and method of a manufacturing process that builds a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer. Opposite to the conventional subtractive manufacturing, it conquers various limitations on component design freedom and raises interest in various fields, including aerospace, automotive and medical applications. This thesis studies the mechanical behavior of thin-walled component manufactured by a common AM technique, laser powder bed fusion (LPBF). The studied material is Hastelloy X, which is a Ni-based superalloy, and it is in connection to a component repair application in gas turbines. The influence of microstructure on the deformation mechanisms at elevated temperatures is systematically investigated. This study aims for a fundamental and universal study that can apply to different material grades with FCC crystallographic structure.It is common to find elongated grain and subgrain structure caused by the directional laser energy input in the LPBF process, which is related to the different printing parameters and brands of equipment. This thesis will start with the study of scan rotation effect on stainless steel 316L in an EOS M290 equipment. The statistic texture analysis by using neutron diffraction reveals a clear transition when different level of scan rotation is applied. Scan rotation of 67° is a standard printing parameter with intention to lower anisotropy, yet, the elongated grain and cell structure is still found in the as-built microstructure. Therefore, the anisotropic mechanical behavior study is carried out on the sample printed with scan rotation of 67° in this thesis.Thin-walled effects in LPBF are investigated by studying a group of plate-like HX specimens, with different nominal thicknesses from 4mm down to 1mm, and a reference group of rod-like sample with a diameter of 18mm. A texture similar to Goss texture is found in rod-like sample, and it becomes <011>//BD fiber texture in the 4mm specimen, then it turns to be <001> fiber texture along the transverse direction (TD) in the 1mm specimen. Tensile tests with the strain rate of 10−3 s−1 have been applied to the plate-like specimens from room temperature up to 700 ℃. A degradation of strength is shown when the sample becomes thinner, which is assumed to be due to the overestimated load bearing cross-section since the as-built surface is rough. A cross-section calibration method is proposed by reducing the surface roughness, and a selection of proper roughness parameters is demonstrated with the consideration of the calculated Taylor’s factor and the residual stress. The large thermal gradient during the LPBF process induces high dislocation density and strengthens the material, hence, the LPBF HX exhibits better yield strength than conventionally manufactured, wrought HX, but the work hardening capacity and ductility are sacrificed at the same time.Two types of loading condition reveal the anisotropic mechanical behavior, where the vertical and horizontal tests refer to the loading direction being on the BD and TD respectively. The vertical tests exhibit lower strength but better ductility that is related to the larger lattice rotation observed from the samples with different deformation level. Meanwhile, the elongated grain structure and grain boundary embrittlement are responsible for the low horizontal ductility. A ductile to brittle transition is traced at 700 ℃, so a further study with two different slow strain rates, 10−5 s−1 and 10−6 s−1, are carried out at 700 ℃. Creep damage is shown in the slow strain rates testing. Deformation twinning is found only in the vertical tests where it forms mostly in the twin favorable <111> oriented grain along the LD. The large lattice rotation and the deformation twinning make the vertical ductility remain high level under the slow strain rates. The slow strain rate tensile testing lightens the understanding of creep behavior in LPBF Ni-based superalloys.In summary, this thesis uncovers the tensile behavior of LPBF HX with different variations, including geometry-dependence, temperature-dependence, crystallographic texture-dependence and strain rate-dependence. The generated knowledge will be beneficial to the future study of different mechanical behavior such as fatigue and creep, and it will also enable a more robust design for LPBF applications.

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