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GSE Technology Helps 3D Printing Industry

Author:GSE Technology Helps 3D Printing Industry  Browse:1020  Time:2019-05-07

Recently, researchers have studied the effect of using nitrogen or argon as protective gas on the final mechanical properties of 17-4 PH stainless steel. “By investigating various process parameters, scanning strategies and building orientation effects, many efforts have been made to optimize and improve the mechanical properties of AM components.” Researchers said: "The introduction of protective gas is another important parameter, which not only affects the thermophysical properties of manufacturing parts, but also affects the mechanical properties of manufacturing components. The protective gas is responsible for removing the active gas around the molten pool to prevent adverse reactions with the atmosphere. When selecting suitable protective gases, such as oxygen, various factors must be taken into account, such as the basic materials of gas and molten pool and chemical metallurgical reaction.

The effects of various protective gases such as nitrogen, argon and helium on the behavior of different materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium alloy were studied. The researchers focused on simulating the thermal response of 17-4 PH SS by simulating a single orbit under typical L-PBF conditions, while considering the convective heat transfer of different shielding gases. Numerical studies were conducted, temperature gradient and cooling rate of components manufactured in argon and nitrogen protected gases during laser powder bed melting were obtained. Microhardness test and tensile test were carried out to determine the mechanical properties of 3D printing parts under different protective gases. The following conclusions are drawn:

1. The nitrogen atmosphere introduces a slightly lower temperature and temperature gradient along the track while the cooling rate is higher than the argon atmosphere. The researchers attributed this to the higher thermal conductivity of nitrogen.

2. When nitrogen is used as a protective gas, more energy should be dissipated from orbit to the environment. This is due to the higher cooling rate provided when nitrogen is used.

3. The hardness of specimens manufactured in nitrogen gas is slightly higher than that of specimens manufactured in argon gas. This is attributed to the finer microstructures obtained by higher cooling rates being provided in nitrogen atmosphere.

4. The hardness of the HT-Ar / Ar sample is higher than that of the HT-Ar / N2 sample. This is because the austenitic matrix that has been produced under the argon atmosphere has higher precipitation hardening ability than the martensite microstructure.

Under all test conditions, the change of tensile behavior is the smallest. However, the 3-D printed samples in nitrogen atmosphere have slightly higher strength and ductility.

This research can provide valuable insights to better avoid the addition of defects in manufacturing parts such as porosity and lack of fusion. In particular, the manufacture of metal additives is a very precise science involving a large amount of chemical knowledge and mathematical calculations to create the best conditions for 3D printing. According to researchers, manufacturers may be able to change the conditions of 3D printed parts to get better overall components.

   GSE Technologies is an innovative technology company that provides high performance nitrogen generators for the 3D printing industry to meet the industry's need for nitrogen.

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