Mechanical properties and in situ deformation imaging of microlattices manufactured by laser based powder bed fusion
CITATION: Du Plessis, A., et al. 2018. Mechanical properties and in situ deformation imaging of microlattices manufactured by laser based powder bed fusion. Materials, 11(9):1663, doi:10.3390/ma11091663.
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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This paper reports on the production and mechanical properties of Ti6Al4V microlattice structures with strut thickness nearing the single-track width of the laser-based powder bed fusion (LPBF) system used. Besides providing new information on the mechanical properties and manufacturability of such thin-strut lattices, this paper also reports on the in situ deformation imaging of microlattice structures with six unit cells in every direction. LPBF lattices are of interest for medical implants due to the possibility of creating structures with an elastic modulus close to that of the bones and small pore sizes that allow effective osseointegration. In this work, four different cubes were produced using laser powder bed fusion and subsequently analyzed using microCT, compression testing, and one selected lattice was subjected to in situ microCT imaging during compression. The in situ imaging was performed at four steps during yielding. The results indicate that mechanical performance (elastic modulus and strength) correlate well with actual density and that this performance is remarkably good despite the high roughness and irregularity of the struts at this scale. In situ yielding is visually illustrated.