Additive Manufacture (AM) offers great potential for creating metallic parts for high end products used in critical application i.e. aerospace and biomedical engineering. General acceptance of AM within these fields has been held back by a lack of confidence in the consistency of the mechanical properties of AMed parts associated by the occurrence of porosity, large columnar grains and texture. In this research, to counters this problem we have combined hot forging and subsequent heat treatment. Although, perhaps not best suited to components featuring fine detail, this technique should be well suited to the manufacture of forged components such as fan blades. Here, AM is able to create a near net-shape blank which is then hot forged to size, eliminating intermediate production stages and generating good mechanical properties in the final component. The material used in the current study is AM 316L Stainless Steel. By altering the printing parameters of the AM machine, two batches of samples were built, each displaying a different porosity content. This allowed the influence of initial build quality to be illustrated. By comparing the two sample batches, it was possible to gain an insight into the possibilities of controlling porosity and material microstructure. The success of the proposed hot forging and heat treatment technique was validated by mechanical testing (i.e. tensile and hardness experiments) and microstructure evolution characterization (i.e. optical microscopy observation and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) techniques). The results revealed that the post processing strategy reduced material porosity and enabled the creation of a more robust microstructure, resulting in improved mechanical properties of the AM material.
- 316L Stainless steel
- additive manufacturing (AM)
- electron back scatter diffraction (EBSD)
- grain recrystallization
- forging and heat treatment