Additive manufacturing of Ti-6Al-4V alloy- A review
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The most popular additive manufacturing (AM) technologies to produce titanium alloy parts are electron beam melting (EBM), selective laser melting (SLM) and directed energy deposition (DED). This investigation explores mainly these three techniques and compares these three methods comprehensively in terms of microstructure, tensile properties, porosity, surface roughness and residual stress based on the information available in the literature. It was found that the microstructure is affected by the highest temperature generated and the cooling rate which can be tailored by the input variables of the AM processes. The parts produced from EBM have strength comparable to that of conventionally fabricated counterparts. SLM and DED yield superior strength, which can be up to 25 % higher than traditionally manufactured products. Due to the presense of larger tensile residual stress, surface roughness and porosity, AM fabricated parts have lower fatigue life compared to those of from traditional methods. EBM parts have slightly lower fracture (??) toughness (i.e., lower fatigue life) than conventionally produced parts while SLM and DED have significantly lower fracture toughness. Annealing, hot isostatic pressing, stress relief and additional machining processes improve the characteristics of parts produced from AM. Ti-6Al-4V alloy parts fabricated via AM may have limited applications despite the high demands in aerospace or biomedical engineering. Since rapid product development using 3D printers leads to signigicant cost reductions more recently, it is expected that more opportunities may soon be available for the AM of titanium alloys with newer AM processes such as cold spray additive manufacturing (CSAM) and additive friction stir deposition (AFSD).
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