…Powder-bed 3D printing is one of the more popular metal 3D printing methods and is generally known for producing high-quality metal parts. However problems can arise with residual stress due to part orientation and temperature changes during the 3D printing process. This is caused by rapid heating and cooling of the previous melt spot as a new layer of metal powder is applied and melted. This stressing can cause separation from support structures, distortions in the objects shape and occasionally complete part failure.
Amanda Wu and her fellow LLNL Accelerated Certification of Additively Manufactured Metals – ACAMM – Strategic Initiative team members Wayne King, Gilbert Gallegos and Mukul Kumar have developed a process to quickly and accurately detect the types of stresses that typically lead to part failure. It uses a process called digital image correlation – DIC – to record almost imperceptible changes in the 3D printed part by photographing it before it is removed from the build plate and then again after. Any distortions that were detected are measured by comparing the digital images before and after removal using advanced software.
This newly developed method was independently confirmed by Los Alamos National Laboratory – LANL – using a process called neutron diffraction, which can detect residual stresses by measuring the diffraction of a neutron beam sent through the part. This is currently the most accurate stress measuring method, however the process can only be done at one of three research labs in the country. Obviously that makes the process highly impractical. The LLNL researchers’ DIC stress test results were confirmed to be extremely accurate by the ND experiments at LANL….
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