Optimising a processing window for the production of aluminium silicon-12 samples via selective laser melting.

Nzengue, Alliance Gracia Bibili
Mpofu, Khumbulani
Mathe, Ntombizodwa Ruth
Muvunzi, Rumbidzai
Selective laser melting (SLM) SLM has gained interest in processing lightweight metals like aluminium alloys. The SLM processing remains challenging in finding the appropriate process parameters for the desired mechanical properties. Previous studies have used energy density formulas and heat treatment to improve the mechanical properties of materials in different ways. However, the holistic approach to studying the physical and mechanical properties has less been reported. Therefore, this article presents the optimisation of the processing window of the AlSi12 aluminium alloy produced by the SLM process. The design of the experiment (DoE) was carried out using the Response Surface Methodology (RSM) implemented in the Design Expert 2018 environment. It involved two process factors in the following range of scan speed (500–2500 mm/s) and laser power (50–300 W). The combination of a scan speed of 500 mm/s and a laser power of 300 W resulted in a relative density of 97.4 %, an ultimate tensile strength (UTS) of 418 MPa and a hardness of 132.6 HV. The microstructure and fracture analysis provided evidence of reduced defects with the combination of parameters mentioned above. Thus, this study contributes to adding a new set of data to existing work for more comprehensive parameter calibration. This study helps industries that produce aluminium alloys from SLM processes obtain the optimal range of process parameters that produce parts with the desired mechanical properties.
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Elsevier B.V.
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AlSi12, Selective laser melting, Response surface methodology, Mechanical properties
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