Fabrication of large Ti–6Al–4V structures by direct laser deposition

Chunlei Qiu, G.a. Ravi, Chris Dance, Andrew Ranson, Steve Dilworth, Moataz M. Attallah

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175 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Ti–6Al–4V samples have been prepared by direct laser deposition (DLD) using varied processing conditions. Some of the as-fabricated samples were stress-relieved or hot isostatically pressed (HIPed). The microstructures of all the samples were characterised using optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) and the tensile properties assessed. It was found that a high laser power together with a reasonably low powder feed rate was essential for achieving minimum porosity. The build height and geometrical integrity of samples were sensitive to the specified laser nozzle moving step along the build height direction (or Z step) with a too big Z step usually leading to a build height smaller than specified height (or under build) and a too small Z step to excessive building (or excess build). Particularly, scaling-up of samples requires a smaller Z step to obtain specified build height and geometry. The as-fabricated microstructure was characterised by columnar grains together with martensitic needle structure and a small fraction of β phase. This led generally to high tensile strengths but low elongations. The vertically machined samples showed even lower elongation than horizontally machined ones due to the presence of large lack-of-fusion pores at interlayer interfaces. HIPing effectively closed pores and fully transformed the martensites into lamellar α + β phases, which considerably improved ductility but caused slight reduction in strength. With optimisation of processing conditions together with post-DLD HIPing, a couple of large spars with structural integrity comparable to conventionally manufactured parts have been fabricated. Pronounced distortion was observed after unclamping of the as-fabricated structures. HIPing on the unclamped structures was found to significantly reduce the distortion. It is suggested that DLD plus HIPing is a feasible route for manufacturing high quality and high performance aerospace structures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-361
JournalJournal of Alloys and Compounds
Volume629
Early online date9 Jan 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Titanium alloys
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Direct laser deposition
  • Hot isostatic pressing
  • Microstructure
  • Fracture behaviour

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