Additive Manufacturing of Inconel 718 using Electron Beam Melting: Processing, Post-Processing, & Mechanical Properties
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Additive Manufacturing (AM) process parameters were studied for production of the high temperature alloy Inconel 718 using Electron Beam Melting (EBM) to better understand the relationship between processing, microstructure, and mechanical properties. Processing parameters were analyzed for impact on process time, process temperature, and the amount of applied energy. The applied electron beam energy was shown to be integral to the formation of swelling defects. Standard features in the microstructure were identified, including previously unidentified solidification features such as shrinkage porosity and non-equilibrium phases. The as-solidified structure does not persist in the bulk of EBM parts due to a high process hold temperature (~1000°C), which causes in situ homogenization. The most significant variability in as-fabricated microstructure is the formation of intragranular delta-phase needles, which can form in samples produced with lower process temperatures (< 960°C). A novel approach was developed and demonstrated for controlling the temperature of cool down, thus providing a technique for in situ heat treatment of material. This technique was used to produce material with hardness of 478±7 HV with no post-processing, which exceeds the hardness of peak-aged Inconel 718. Traditional post-processing methods of hot isostatic pressing (HIP) and solution treatment and aging (STA) were found to result in variability in grain growth and phase solution. Recrystallization and grain structure are identified as possible mechanisms to promote grain growth. These results led to the conclusion that the first step in thermal post-processing of EBM Inconel 718 should be an optimized solution treatment to reset phase variation in the as-fabricated microstructure without incurring significant grain growth. Such an optimized solution treatment was developed (1120°C, 2hr) for application prior to aging or HIP. The majority of as-fabricated tensile properties met ASTM AM Inconel 718 standards for yield stress and ultimate tensile strength, and STA yield stress, ultimate tensile strength, and elongation exceeded the ASTM standards for AM Inconel 718.
electron beam melting
in situ heat treatment
Sames, William (2015). Additive Manufacturing of Inconel 718 using Electron Beam Melting: Processing, Post-Processing, & Mechanical Properties. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from