Structural Integrity of an Electron Beam Melted Titanium Alloy

Advanced manufacturing encompasses the wide range of processes that consist of “3D printing” of metallic materials. One such method is Electron Beam Melting (EBM), a modern build technology that offers significant potential for lean manufacture and a capability to produce fully dense near-net shaped components. However, the manufacture of intricate geometries will result in variable thermal cycles and thus a transient microstructure throughout, leading to a highly textured structure. As such, successful implementation of these technologies requires a comprehensive assessment of the relationships of the key process variables, geometries, resultant microstructures and mechanical properties. The nature of this process suggests that it is often difficult to produce representative test specimens necessary to achieve a full mechanical property characterisation. Therefore, the use of small scale test techniques may be exploited, specifically the small punch (SP) test. The SP test offers a capability for sampling miniaturised test specimens from various discrete locations in a thin-walled component, allowing a full characterisation across a complex geometry. This paper provides support in working towards development and validation strategies in order for advanced manufactured components to be safely implemented into future gas turbine applications. This has been achieved by applying the SP test to a series of Ti-6Al-4V variants that have been manufactured through a variety of processing routes including EBM and investigating the structural integrity of each material and how this controls the mechanical response.


Robert Lancaster1, Gareth Davies1, Henry Illsley1, Spencer Jeffs1 and Gavin Baxter2
1. Institute of Structural Materials, Swansea University, Bay Campus, Fabian Way, Swansea SA1 8EN, UK;
2. Rolls-Royce plc, P.O. Box 31, Derby DE24 8BJ, UK;

Materials 9(6) (2016) 470 doi: 10.3390/ma9060470