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Additive Manufacturing

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Required microstructural attributes of an alloy vary with structural applications. The microstructural fine-tuning capability of laser-powder bed fusion (L-PBF) additive manufacturing (AM) enables application specific manufacture of the components. Such manufacture with L-PBF AM requires alloys that exhibit wide processing window and are amenable to multiple deformation mechanisms. However, high hot cracking susceptibility of Al alloys poses a barrier to such printability-performance synergy. In this work we show that an integration of, a) grain refinement through heterogeneous nucleation, and b) eutectic solidification, leads to crack-free parts at wide range of process parameters, microstructural heterogeneity, and hierarchy in the Al-Ni-Ti-Zr alloy. Such an integration targets hot cracking at multiple stages of solidification in L-PBF as opposed to the contemporary alloy design strategies that target hot-cracking at only specific stages of solidification. The Al-Ni-Ti-Zr alloy exhibits excellent printability and a high as-built tensile performance. Due to the wide processing window and amenability to multiple deformation mechanisms, the alloy microstructure and subsequently the performance, can be fine-tuned. Such strategy opens the gateway for application-specific manufacture of Al alloys with L-PBF AM and establishes a fundamental shift in current methodologies for design of these alloys for L-PBF AM.


Accepted version. Additive Manufacturing, Vol. 42 (2021, June): 102002. DOI. © 2021 Elsevier. Used with permission.

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