Different metals have been processed using laser‐based solid freeform fabrication (SFF) processes but very little work has been published on the selective laser melting (SLM) of gold (Au). The purpose of this paper is to check the properties of gold powder and identify suitable processing parameters for SLM of 24 carat gold powder.
A full factorial approach was used to vary the processing parameters and identify suitable processing region for gold powder. The effects of laser processing parameters on the internal porosity of the multi‐layer parts were examined.
The gold powder was found to be cohesive in nature with apparent and tap densities of 9.3 and 10.36 g/cm3, respectively. The reflectance of gold powder was found to be 85 per cent in the infrared range. A very narrow good melting region was identified for gold powder. The balling phenomenon was observed at both low and high scan speeds. The size of droplets in the balling region tended to increase with increasing laser power and decreasing scan speeds. The porosity in gold multi‐layer parts was found to be the minimum for a laser power of 50 W and scan speed of 65 mm/s where most of the porosity was found to be inter‐layer porosity.
This research is the first of its kind directly processing 24 carat gold using SLM, identifying the suitable processing parameters and its effect on the internal porosity and structure of multi‐layer parts.
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