Microstructural architecture developed in the fabrication of solid and open-cellular copper components by additive manufacturing using electron beam melting

Diana Alejandra Ramirez, University of Texas at El Paso


The fabrication of Cu components were first built by additive manufacturing using electron beam melting (EBM) from low-purity, atomized Cu powder containing a high density of Cu2O precipitates leading to a novel example of precipitate-dislocation architecture. These microstructures exhibit cell-like arrays (1-3µm) in the horizontal reference plane perpendicular to the build direction with columnar-like arrays extending from ~12 to >60 µm in length and corresponding spatial dimensions of 1-3 µm. These observations were observed by the use of optical metallography, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The hardness measurements were taken both on the atomized powder and the Cu components. The hardness for these architectures ranged from ~HV 83 to 88, in contrast to the original Cu powder microindentation hardness of HV 72 and the commercial Cu base plate hardness of HV 57. ^ These observations were utilized for the fabrication of open-cellular copper structures by additive manufacturing using EBM and illustrated the ability to fabricate some form of controlled microstructural architecture by EBM parameter alteration or optimizing. The fabrication of these structures ranged in densities from 0.73g/cm3 to 6.67g/cm3. These structures correspond to four different articulated mesh arrays. While these components contained some porosity as a consequence of some unmelted regions, the Cu2O precipitates also contributed to a reduced density. Using X-ray Diffraction showed the approximate volume fraction estimated to be ~2%. The addition of precipitates created in the EBM melt scan formed microstructural arrays which contributed to hardening contributing to the strength of mesh struts and foam ligaments. The measurements of relative stiffness versus relative density plots for Cu compared very closely with Ti-6Al-4V open cellular structures - both mesh and foams. The Cu reticulated mesh structures exhibit a slope of n = 2 in contrast to a slope of n = 2.4 for the stochastic Cu foams, consistent with the Gibson-Ashby foam model where n = 2. These open cellular structure components exhibit considerable potential for novel, complex, multi-functional electrical and thermal management systems, especially complex, monolithic heat exchange device.^

Subject Area

Engineering, Mechanical|Engineering, Materials Science

Recommended Citation

Ramirez, Diana Alejandra, "Microstructural architecture developed in the fabrication of solid and open-cellular copper components by additive manufacturing using electron beam melting" (2011). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3490042.