Laser assisted additive manufacturing (LAAM) is regarded as a complementary method to traditional manufacturing processes and it has drawn significant attention from both industry and academia. Improving the performance of components fabricated by LAAM has been an important research task in recent years due to the inevitable negative effects introduced by in the LAAM process, such as porosity, inhomogeneity, and tensile residual stress. In this study, to obtain high-performance metal components by LAAM, nano-TiC particles are adopted to reinforce Inconel 718 and the mixed powders of TiC and Inconel 718 are processed by selective laser melting (SLM). To investigate the effect of TiC concentration on the property and performance of the metal matrix composite, samples with three levels of nano-TiC addition (0, 0.25, 0.5 wt.%) are prepared, in which the SLM process parameters are kept the same for all cases. Three-point bending tests are performed to determine the optimum nano TiC addition. It is found that the material of 0.5 wt.% TiC addition results in the highest bending modulus. Compared with pure Inconel 718, the composite with 0.5 wt.% nano-TiC shows 38% increase in flexural modulus. In addition, to better understand the reinforcing mechanism of nano TiC particles, the SLM processed samples are characterized using a self-designed micro/nano three-point bending tester that is incorporated with an atomic force microscope (AFM) to in situ observe the nanoparticles movement on the sample surface under loading. The sample surface is scanned by AFM at 0%, 2%, 4% and 6% strain condition during the test, and the migration of individual nano particles at the sample surface is tracked at each strain condition. The AFM observations show that the dispersion of TiC nanoparticles is overall random and uniform in the Inconel 718 matrix, and localized agglomeration of TiC particles exists. The interfaces between nanoparticles and the matrix are generally continuous and free of any deleterious micro cracks, indicating a favorable metallurgical bonding feature. The surface morphologies obtained by AFM at different strain conditions are processed by digital image correlation technique to obtain the strain fields during the deformation process. The results show that the agglomerated TiC particles serve as defects in the material, leading to relative sliding of particles with respect to the matrix. This is believed to be the main factor that limits the performance of the composites made by SLM.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.