Back To All News & Innovation

Kymera R&D team featured at PMTi 2022 conference for contribution in research article

Kymera CTO, Mike Marucci, & Sr. R&D Metallurgist, Muktesh Paliwal, are featured as key contributors in Processing of HDH Ti64 using Laser Powder Bed Fusion research article.

Abstract: An unmodified, non-spherical, hydride-dehydride (HDH) Ti-6Al-4V powder having a substantial economic advantage over spherical, atomized Ti-6Al-4V alloy powder was used to fabricate a range of test components and aerospace-related products utilizing laser beam powder-bed fusion processing. The as-built products, utilizing optimized processing parameters, had a Rockwell- C scale (HRC) hardness of 44.6. Following heat treatments which included annealing at 704 C, HIP at ~926 C (average), and HIP + anneal, the HRC hardnesses were observed to be 43.9, 40.7, and 40.4, respectively. The corresponding tensile yield stress, UTS, and elongation for these heat treatments averaged 1.19 GPa, 1.22 GPa, 8.7%; 1.03 GPa, 1.08 GPa, 16.7%; 1.04 GPa, 1.09 GPa, 16.1%, respectively. The HIP yield strength and elongation of 1.03 GPa and 16.7% are comparable to the best commercial, wrought Ti-6Al-4V products. The corresponding HIP component microstructures consisted of elongated small grains (~125 microns diameter) containing fine, alpha/beta lamellae.

Additive manufacturing/3D printing has become a key enabling manufacturing process which has been characterized as underpinning the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution. Powder-bed fusion processes such as selective laser melting (SLM) and electron beam melting (EBM) in particular provide a wide range of cost savings, high precision and speed of production for complex product shapes applied to aerospace automotive, biomedical and related applications, including maintenance, repair and sustainment. Qualification and certification of optimized parts, especially aerospace and aircraft components are also important issues.

Due to its low density, high mechanical strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and related properties, Ti-6Al-4V alloy has become one of the most widely used titanium alloys for additive manufacturing of a wide range of components [7,8], especially for the laser-based or laser beam powder-bed fusion (LBPBF) process. Since the laser-based (SLM) process utilizes an inert gas atmosphere (argon or nitrogen), this shield gas flow reduces oxidation of the alloy powder and the melted layers. However, the morphology, size and size distribution of the precursor powder are also important factors because they affect powder flowability, laser beam energy absorption, and conductivity of the powder bed which change as the bed consolidates and melts. In addition, the laser process parameters have a controlling effect on layer building as well as the microstructure and properties of the as-built product. These generally include laser beam energy and energy density which is related to the absorbed energy in the powder layer, the scan speed, and the beam size or scan spacing.

It is apparent, as noted above, that the initial powder bed particle packing or packing density has an effect on the laser beam energy absorption and melt efficiency of the layers, and this will in fact change as the powder bed layer melts. While spherical powders having a wider distribution of particle sizes can optimize bed packing and densification by more effectively filling void spaces with smaller particles requisite flowability, these powders generally have a high cost since their production involves gas or plasma atomization. In contrast, Ti-6Al-4V powders having non-spherical shapes are easily produced by forming stable, brittle hydrides that can be crushed, milled, and screened to produce fine powders which are dehydrided to form non-spherical alloy powder. This hydride-dehydride (HDH) process is a long-established process for Ti and Ti alloy powder production, and represents a significant economic advantage over spherical, atomized powder production

The challenge for powder bed fusion fabrication utilizing non-spherical precursor powder is the achievement of requisite flowability, packing, and melt efficiency in order to achieve optimized part production characterized by short production times to achieve requisite mechanical properties and associated microstructures. Jaber et al. have recently demonstrated that for L-PBF of a hybrid-50% spherical and 50% non-spherical (HDH)-Ti-6Al-4V powder, the flowability was the crucial parameter governing the residual tensile properties of fabricated components. Hou et al. also recently modified HDH Ti-6Al-4V powder by ball milling and were able to produce 99% dense products for this modified powder using laser beam powder-bed fusion processing. Narra et al. have also compared melt pool porosity for electron beam powder-bed fusion processing of spherical and non-spherical Ti-6Al-4V alloy powders. Microstructures observed for HDH Ti-6Al-4V alloy builds were observed to be similar to those for parts fabricated using spherical, atomized powders.

In this investigation, laser beam powder-bed fusion process parameters were systematically varied in order to find optimized conditions to fabricate an assortment of complex Ti-6Al-4V alloy products and test components; utilizing 100% non-spherical HDH Ti-6Al- 4V alloy powder. While the as-fabricated components were near full density, conventional post-process annealing relieved process-induced internal stress, while HIP reduced remaining porosity and produced components with microstructures and mechanical properties compatible with those characteristic of Ti-6Al-4V alloy products fabricated using spherical, atomized precursor powder and heat treated. In fact, as-built and post process HIP components fabricated from non-spherical, HDH Ti-6Al-4V alloy powder using laser beam powder-bed fusion exhibited tensile properties as good as the best, commercial Ti-6Al-4V wrought products.

Check out the below links to learn more about HDH Titanium Powder Morphology and how Kymera International continues to lead in laser powder bed fusion technologies.

Citation: Varela, J.; Arrieta, E.; Paliwal, M.; Marucci, M.; Sandoval, J.H.; Gonzalez, J.A.; McWilliams, B.;
Murr, L.E.;Wicker, R.B.; Medina, F. Investigation of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties for Ti-6Al-4V Alloy Parts Produced Using Non-Spherical Precursor Powder by Laser Powder Bed Fusion. Materials
2021, 14, 3028.

Academic Editor: Tuhin Mukherjee
Published: 2 June 2021

Let’s Get Started

Want to learn more about our products and services? Get in touch with us for more information today.

Learn More