Abstract

Laser Additive Manufacturing using Powder Bed Fusion (LAM-PBF) is one of the revolutionary technologies playing a key role in fourth industrial revolution for redefining manufacturing from mass production to mass customization. To upkeep the pace, Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT) has indigenously developed an LAM-PBF system and it is being used for process and component development for various engineering applications. This paper reports a parametric investigation to evaluate the influence of process parameters on the sample properties and to develop the process window for fabricating complex shaped engineering components. In the present work, an experimental investigation is carried out to investigate the effect of Laser Energy density (LED) on the porosity, microstructure and mechanical properties of SS 316L bulk structures fabricated by LAM-PBF system. LED is a combined parameter simultaneously considering the effect of Laser Power (P), Scan Speed (v), hatch spacing (h) and layer thickness (t). The effect of three LED values such as 83.33 J/mm3, 253.97 J/mm3 and 476.19 J/mm3 is investigated in the present work by building cuboidal samples at a layer thickness of 75 microns. Porosity is estimated using area fraction method in optical microscopy and it is found that the minimum porosity of 0.14 % and pore area of 1.28 mm2 are observed at 253.97 J/mm3. Maximum porosity of 18.85 % is observed at 83 J/mm3 due to incomplete fusion defects. However, porosity observed at 475 J/mm3 is 6.56 % with average pore size of 17.8 mm2. Microstructural studies show primarily columnar growth in all the samples with fine dendrites. The dendrite size is observed to be 3.2 μm, 2.4 μm and 1.46 μm at 83.33 J/mm3, 253.97 J/mm3 and 476.19 J/mm3 respectively. Micro-hardness and single cycle automatic ball indentation studies are found to be in agreement with dendritic size, with lower hardness at larger dendrite size. X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) studies indicate similar peaks at all the conditions, with slight peak shift observed with increase in LED primarily due to higher amount of residual stress. Thus, it can be inferred that LED of 253.97 J/mm3 is suitable for fabricating engineering components due to combination of lower porosity and fine dendritic structure.

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