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Microstructure and mechanical properties of Ti‐6Al‐4V produced by electron beam melting of pre‐alloyed powders

Luca Facchini (Department of Materials Engineering and Industrial Technologies, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)
Emanuele Magalini (Eurocoating SPA, Ciré di Pergine, Italy)
Pierfrancesco Robotti (Eurocoating SPA, Ciré di Pergine, Italy)
Alberto Molinari (Department of Materials Engineering and Industrial Technologies, University of Trento, Trento, Italy)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 29 May 2009

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is the microstructural and mechanical characterization of a biomedical Ti‐6Al‐4V alloy produced by electron beam melting, and the study of the stability of the as‐built microstructure upon heat treatment.

Design/methodology/approach

Ti‐6Al‐4V alloy produced by electron beam melting has been mechanically characterized through tensile and fatigue testing. Its microstructure has been investigated by optical observation after etching and by X‐ray diffractometry analysis. The stability of the microstructure of the as‐built material has been deepened carrying out suitable heat treatments, after an analysis by dilatometry test.

Findings

The microstructure of a Ti‐6Al‐4V alloy produced by electron beam melting has a very fine and acicular morphology, because of the intrinsically high‐solidification rate of the process. This microstructure is very stable, and the traditional thermal treatments cannot modify it; the microstructure changes significantly only when an amount of strain is introduced in the material. However, the mechanical properties of the alloy produced by electron beam melting are good.

Originality/value

The paper provides evidence of the microstructural stability of the material produced by electron beam melting. Even if the microstructure of the as‐built material is not recommended by the specific ISO standard, the related mechanical properties are fully satisfactory. This is a significant indication from the point of view of the production of Ti‐6Al‐4V orthopaedic and dental prostheses by electron beam melting.

Keywords

Citation

Facchini, L., Magalini, E., Robotti, P. and Molinari, A. (2009), "Microstructure and mechanical properties of Ti‐6Al‐4V produced by electron beam melting of pre‐alloyed powders", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 171-178. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552540910960262

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited