Mechanical and microstructural analysis of 3D-Printed 316L stainless steel
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The project aims to analyze the mechanical properties and microstructure study of 316L stainless steel, which is as-printed using the selective laser melting (SLM) technique. Metal components produced by the SLM process offer superior mechanical properties to those of bulk materials. Selection of the appropriate process parameters, building direction, and building height plays an essential role in determining the microstructure and properties of the final product. For this reason, mechanical properties, microstructure, hardness, and porosity of 316L specimens are investigated according to their building directions. Recommended standard methods followed for the sample preparation and experimental procedures. Light optical microscope (LOM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) are used to study microstructure and porosity. Variation in the microstructure within the Sample; Cellular and columnar dendritic structures were found depending on the solidification rate. The mechanical properties varied concerning the building direction and significantly affected by the build angle orientation. The tensile and impact test all specimens failed by ductile fracture predominantly. However, few locations were brittle in nature, suspected to be caused by delamination. Additionally, hardness values varied in parallel- and normal to build directions and differ in building height. Furthermore, the investigation has also revealed defects such as entrapped gas during metallic powder manufacturing, which has predominantly created spherical pores and inter-track porosity during the SLM process, which was irregular in shape minority. The experimental analysis discovered that the standard process parameter used in sample manufacturing produced the fully dense parts. And, presented results demonstrate a correlation between the build direction, building height, and the resulting mechanical properties of SLM 316L specimens.