University of Cambridge > > Engineering - Mechanics and Materials Seminar Series > Microstructure control in metal additive manufacturing: a LEGO analogy

Microstructure control in metal additive manufacturing: a LEGO analogy

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One of the defining features of fusion-based additive manufacturing (AM) processes is the localized melting of metal by a high-energy source, which fuses the material together point by point into a 3-D part. By varying the processing parameters at any point across the build, it is possible to control the solidification of the material and drive the formation of different microstructures. This unique capability offers the opportunity to build polycrystals with arbitrary microstructures from the bottom-up—as if they were made out of LEGO .

In this talk I will showcase two microstructure control strategies in AM, which we developed to control the distribution of two fundamental features of polycrystalline metals: crystal grains and grain boundaries. The first entails a grain selection process upon solidification, which results in the formation of pseudo-single crystals with arbitrary geometry and controlled orientation. Using this strategy, we build pseudo-polycrystals with grain configurations that do not exist in nature. The second focuses on engineering the thermal stability of metal alloys to control the occurrence of recrystallisation site-specifically. Because recrystallisation produces substantial changes in the grain boundary character distribution, this strategy may be employed as a grain boundary engineering approach for AM materials.

These two example strategies embody a new paradigm in AM, which enables the design and production of parts with novel functionalities and enhanced performance by combining multiple, dissimilar microstructures within the same build.

This talk is part of the Engineering - Mechanics and Materials Seminar Series series.

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