The influence of build parameters on the microstructure during electron beam melting of Ti6Al4V

Karina Puebla, University of Texas at El Paso


With the demand of devices to replace or improve areas, such as: electronic, biomedical and aerospace industries. Improvements in these areas of engineering have been in need due to the customer's needs for product properties requirements. The design of components must exhibit better material properties (mechanical or biocompatible) close to those of any given product. Rapid prototyping (RP) technologies that were originally designed to build prototypes may now be required to build functional end-use products. To carry out the transition, from RP to rapid manufacturing (RM), the available materials utilized in RP must provide the performance required for RM. The specific technology being used should be capable of producing reliable parts in regards to their mechanical properties. The research presented in this work investigated the effects of building parameters (build orientation and melt scan rate) on microstructure and the mechanical properties of test specimens fabricated via Electron Beam Melting (EBM) using Ti6Al4V. EBM, a rapid prototyping technology, has the potential to manufacture complex 3-dimensional end-use products layer-by-layer. ^ In this work, a design of experiments approach was performed to determine the effects of build orientation and melt scan rate on both the microstructure and mechanical properties of test samples fabricated using EBM. Two randomized setups were designed to build two batches of 18 specimens. The experimental designs were carried out to determine the effect of different build parameters (build orientation and melt scan rate) in the mechanical properties of the fabricated specimens. The results demonstrated that EBM manufactured specimens built with different melt scan rates and build orientations have different microstructures and mechanical properties. Different melt scans produced variations in particle sintering resulting in dissimilar porosities and in mechanical properties (hardness and tensile testing). The mechanical properties decreased as the porosity increased for tensile testing and Rockwell C-scale (HR C), while Vickers hardness (HV) measurements increased and are related to the microstructure. The different build orientations of the specimens produced different mechanical properties since the orientation of the fabricated specimens impact the local heat transfer flow. This influenced the microstructure where the specimens oriented horizontally cooled more rapidly than those built vertically. Statistically significant differences in mechanical properties were found as an effect of melt scan rate. The statistical analyses that were done can help identify and classify fabrication parameters on mechanical properties for EBM-fabricated products. Optical images demonstrated the presence of α and β phases, and α'-martensite with slight differences in microstructure. Dislocation substructures were observed in acicular α-plates from TEM images and α, β, and α'-phase features. Mechanical and thermal treatment on Ti6Al4V can generate different microstructures promoting Ti6Al4V as an evolutionary alloy. Tailored mechanical properties of complex 3-dimensional end-use products can be achieved by modifying the building parameters of the EBM system. The EBM system can facilitate the process of manufacturing components by varying build parameters in order to obtain desirable physical and mechanical properties. Once the desired properties for Ti6Al4V are established, the fabrication process will lead to more successful end-use products.^

Subject Area

Engineering, Materials Science

Recommended Citation

Puebla, Karina, "The influence of build parameters on the microstructure during electron beam melting of Ti6Al4V" (2012). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3512019.