In this study, the microstructures and mechanical properties of Inconel 718 fabricated from selective laser melting (SLM) process were experimentally investigated. Specimens with different build heights were prepared for microstructural observations by optical microscopy and scanning electron microscope. The texture evolution was also examined using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). In general, columnar γ dendrites are found along the build direction from the X-plane (side surface), while the microstructure of Z-plane (scanning surface) is characterized by equiaxed grains. The microstructures vary along the build height: the top layers present coarse columnar dendrites while the bottom layers show much narrower columnar dendrites owing to a higher cooling rate. The top layers also present the combination of a γ matrix and a higher percentage of the Laves phase, while the bottom layers show a much less Laves phase due to, again, a higher cooling rate. Random textures are shown for the SLM Inconel 718 samples. Nanoindentation tests identify the Young’s modulus and hardness of about 200 GPa and 7 GPa, respectivley.

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