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Title: Collaboration for the Advancement of Indirect 3D Printing Technology

Amorphous powders often possess high hardness values and other useful mechanical properties. However, densifying these powders into complex shapes while retaining their unique properties is a challenge with standard processing routes. Pressureless sintering, for example, can densify intricate green parts composed of rapidly-solidified powders. But this process typically involves long exposures to elevated temperatures, during which the non-equilibrium microstructure of the powder can evolve towards lower energy configurations with inferior properties. Pressure-assisted compaction techniques, by contrast, can consolidate green parts with simple shapes while preserving the microstructure and properties of the powder feedstock. But parts made with these processes generally require additional post-processing, including machining, which introduces new challenges due to the high hardness of these materials. One processing route that can potentially avoid these issues is Indirect 3D Printing (I-3DP; aka Binder Jetting) followed by melt infiltration. In I-3DP, an organic binder is used to join powder feedstock, layer-by-layer, into a green part. In melt infiltration, this green preform is densified by placing it in contact with a molten alloy that wets the preform and wicks into the pores as a result of capillary forces. When these processes are paired together, they offer two key advantages for the densificationmore » of rapidly-solidified powders. The first advantage is that the timescale associated with melt infiltration is on the order of seconds for parts with cm-scale dimensions. So in many instances, infiltration requires only a brief thermal excursion that does not degrade the feedstock’s microstructure. The second advantage is that the combination of binder-jet 3D printing and melt infiltration gives fully-dense net shape objects, minimizing the need for subsequent post-processing. In this work, fully-dense, net shape objects have been fabricated from an amorphous powder using I-3DP and molten bronze infiltration while maintaining the amorphous microstructure. X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and differential thermal analysis were used to characterize the structural evolution of the powder feedstock during an infiltration heating cycle. Microindentation and bend tests were performed on the infiltrated material to evaluate its mechanical properties. It was found that infiltration improved both the ductility and strength of the sintered preforms by eliminating the stress concentration at the interparticle necks. The infiltrated material had an 11 GPa Vickers hardness and moderate damage tolerance, making it well-suited for applications requiring hard, net shape parts.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Energy and Transportation Science Division
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
ED2802000; CEED492; CRADA/NFE-15-05501
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Advanced Manufacturing Office (EE-5A)
Country of Publication:
United States