This study aims to investigate the correlation between build orientation characteristics, part porosity and mechanical properties of the fused filament fabrication (FFF) process to provide insight into pore formation mechanisms and to establish guidelines for optimal process configurations.
Micro computed tomography and metallographic sections provide the basis for a correlation between porosity and extrusion path. Using the correlations found in this study, the way to improve printing strategies and filament properties can be deduced directly from an analysis of the print path and the final influence on mechanical performance.
With metal-FFF 3D printing technology, near-dense parts (0.5 Vol.%) can be fabricated. The pore architecture is strongly connected to the build direction and print strategy with parallel, elongated pore channels. Mechanical values of FFF samples are similar to metal injection-molded (MIM) parts, except the elongation to fracture. The high difference of yield strength of sintered samples compared to laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) samples can be attributed to the finer grains and a Hall–Petch hardening effect. The conclusions derived from this study are that the presented process is capable of producing comparable part qualities compared to MIM samples, with higher build rates in comparison to LPBF processes.
316L stainless steel was successfully manufactured via FFF. This paper also addresses the effects of scanning strategies on the resulting porosity and proposes improvements to reduce residual porosity, thus increasing the mechanical performance in the future.
The authors kindly thank Dr Ing. Daniel Schliephake for his work on sample preparation and scanning electron microscopy analysis.
Damon, J., Dietrich, S., Gorantla, S., Popp, U., Okolo, B. and Schulze, V. (2019), "Process porosity and mechanical performance of fused filament fabricated 316L stainless steel", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 1319-1327. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-01-2019-0002
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