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A printability assessment framework for fabricating low variability nickel-niobium parts using laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing

Bing Zhang (Wm Michael Barnes’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Raiyan Seede (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Austin Whitt (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
David Shoukr (Wm Michael Barnes’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Xueqin Huang (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Ibrahim Karaman (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Raymundo Arroyave (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)
Alaa Elwany (Wm Michael Barnes’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA)

Rapid Prototyping Journal

ISSN: 1355-2546

Article publication date: 30 July 2021

Issue publication date: 22 October 2021

251

Abstract

Purpose

There is recent emphasis on designing new materials and alloys specifically for metal additive manufacturing (AM) processes, in contrast to AM of existing alloys that were developed for other traditional manufacturing methods involving considerably different physics. Process optimization to determine processing recipes for newly developed materials is expensive and time-consuming. The purpose of the current work is to use a systematic printability assessment framework developed by the co-authors to determine windows of processing parameters to print defect-free parts from a binary nickel-niobium alloy (NiNb5) using laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) metal AM.

Design/methodology/approach

The printability assessment framework integrates analytical thermal modeling, uncertainty quantification and experimental characterization to determine processing windows for NiNb5 in an accelerated fashion. Test coupons and mechanical test samples were fabricated on a ProX 200 commercial LPBF system. A series of density, microstructure and mechanical property characterization was conducted to validate the proposed framework.

Findings

Near fully-dense parts with more than 99% density were successfully printed using the proposed framework. Furthermore, the mechanical properties of as-printed parts showed low variability, good tensile strength of up to 662 MPa and tensile ductility 51% higher than what has been reported in the literature.

Originality/value

Although many literature studies investigate process optimization for metal AM, there is a lack of a systematic printability assessment framework to determine manufacturing process parameters for newly designed AM materials in an accelerated fashion. Moreover, the majority of existing process optimization approaches involve either time- and cost-intensive experimental campaigns or require the use of proprietary computational materials codes. Through the use of a readily accessible analytical thermal model coupled with statistical calibration and uncertainty quantification techniques, the proposed framework achieves both efficiency and accessibility to the user. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that following this framework results in printed parts with low degrees of variability in their mechanical properties.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the funding support from the Army Research Office (ARO) under Contract No.W911NF-18-1-0278 and the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant number CMMI-1846676. RA and XH also acknowledge Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract No.B641173, Collaborative Research and Development for LLNL Missions program.

Citation

Zhang, B., Seede, R., Whitt, A., Shoukr, D., Huang, X., Karaman, I., Arroyave, R. and Elwany, A. (2021), "A printability assessment framework for fabricating low variability nickel-niobium parts using laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. 27 No. 9, pp. 1737-1748. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-01-2021-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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