Controlling the porosity of 316L stainless steel parts manufactured via the powder bed fusion process

AlFaify, Abdullah and Hughes, James and Ridgway, Keith (2019) Controlling the porosity of 316L stainless steel parts manufactured via the powder bed fusion process. Rapid Prototyping Journal, 25 (1). pp. 162-175. ISSN 1355-2546

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    Abstract

    Purpose: The pulsed-laser powder bed fusion (PBF) process is an additive manufacturing technology that uses a laser with pulsed beam to melt metal powder. In this case, stainless steel SS316L alloy is used to produce complex components. To produce components with acceptable mechanical performance requires a comprehensive understanding of process parameters and their interactions. This study aims to understand the influence of process parameters on reducing porosity and increasing part density. Design/methodology/approach: The response surface method (RSM) is used to investigate the impact of changing critical parameters on the density of parts manufactured. Parameters considered include: point distance, exposure time, hatching distance and layer thickness. Part density was used to identify the most statistically significant parameters, before each parameter was analysed individually. Findings: A clear correlation between the number and shape of pores and the process parameters was identified. Point distance, exposure time and layer thickness were found to significantly affect part density. The interaction between these parameters also critically affected the development of porosity. Finally, a regression model was developed and verified experimentally and used to accurately predict part density. Research limitations/implications: The study considered a range of selected parameters relevant to the SS316L alloy. These parameters need to be modified for other alloys according to their physical properties. Originality/value: This study is believed to be the first systematic attempt to use RSM for the design of experiments (DOE) to investigate the effect of process parameters of the pulsed-laser PBF process on the density of the SS316L alloy components. © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited.