Effects of Powder Variation on the Microstructure and Tensile Strength of Ti6Al4V Parts Fabricated by Selective Laser Melting

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International Journal of Powder Metallurgy




Metallic powders are used as raw materials in the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) process. These metal powders are typically available from more than one powder vendor. Even when powders have the same nominal chemical compositions, powders produced by different companies typically result in different powder particle size distributions and morphologies. These powder differences result in different powder bed thermophysical properties, which affect how the powder melts and solidifies. This paper studies the effect of powder variation on the microstructure and tensile strength of as-built SLM Ti6Al4V parts. Ti6Al4V powders from different vendors were used to fabricate parts via SLM. Powder characteristics, such as particle size distribution, morphology, and flowability, were obtained. Powder bed densities and thermal conductivities were measured and compared. The microstructures and tensile strengths were investigated by standard metallographic and tensile testing methods. Based on the experimental results, a correlation between the powder characteristics and part properties are discussed.