The aerospace industry has been conducting research on the additive manufacturing (AM) process since the 1980's, but companies have recently just begun to apply AM in hopes that this new technology will meet or exceed the requirements met by previous manufacturing methods, as well as producing more cost effective, geometrically-complex products. This investigation evaluated the performance of 3D-printed aerospace test specimens made by Powder Bed Fusion Technologies, and compared them to forged specimens. A design of experiments varying build parameters was conducted in order to determine AM component porosity. Factors such as powder post-processing, directionality of the build, and fractology of the samples were evaluated through tensile strength testing and hardness testing of Inconel 718 wrought and EBM printed materials. Using electron microsopy, the responses to these factors were analyzed for stress fractures, grain boundaries, and other defects that occurred in the testing process. The comparison determined which metallurgical process provides the most effective material for aircraft usage.
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