The current laser-based AM systems are designed to use pre-alloyed powder. The ability to use a mixture of metal powders in laser-based additive manufacturing methods greatly widens the window of available alloys to this technology sector. Conventional powder metallurgy processing methods are able to use a mixture of powders to produce engineering alloys in-situ. Likewise, many welding technologies (SMAW, Flux-cored MIG) use a mixture of powders to form the final alloy by mixing in the liquid weld pool. This research will extend these concepts to laser AM processing. The success of using mixed powders depends on the coherent in-situ melting and homogenization of the powder mixture. This work reports on research trials performed on mixtures of iron and nickel powder to make an alloy equivalent to Invar 36. The figure of merit used to rate the success of the process are the degree of microstructural and chemical homogeneity measured in the microstructure.
- Learn a new way of using laser AM to produce new alloys more readily and affordably than having custom alloy powder produced.
- Learn how to use a new method for producing alloy builds.