Cavitation erosion resistance of 316L austenitic steel processed by selective laser melting (SLM)

Hardes, C. and Pöhl, F. and Röttger, A. and Thiele, M. and Theisen, W. and Esen, C.

Volume: 29 Pages:
DOI: 10.1016/j.addma.2019.100786
Published: 2019

Every SLM-fabricated component typically possesses a process-specific microstructure that fundamentally differs from any conventionally fabricated specimen. This publication addresses the evaluation of microstructure-related influencing factors on the resistance against cavitation erosion. We exemplarily compared the findings to a cast and hot rolled reference sample. Due to careful adjustment of the process parameters, the overall cavitation erosion resistance of both SLM-processed and conventionally fabricated 316L are very much alike in the investigated case. The incubation period of intact surface areas is improved by the greater hardness and yield strength of the SLM specimen, which is attributable to an increased dislocation density and a smaller grain size. Nevertheless, processing and powder feeding during SLM-fabrication occasionally results in microstructural defects, at which pronounced mass loss during cavitation was registered. X-ray measurements of the residual stresses reveal the development of severe compressive stresses that emerge after a few seconds of cavitation. This compressive stress state delays the immediate propagation of SLM-inherent micro cracks. Moreover, investigations of the microstructure in combination with examination of the ongoing surface deformation highlighted the emergence of coarse grains that grew towards the temperature gradient. This effect leads to a temporarily high surface roughness, local stress concentrations and an increased probability of cavitation impacts. Furthermore, parallel cracks appear perpendicular to the scan tracks that are traced back to formerly protruded slip bands. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.

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