In situ microstructure analysis of Inconel 625 during laser powder bed fusion
Laser powder bed fusion is an additive manufacturing process that employs highly focused laser radiation for selective melting of a metal powder bed. This process entails a complex heat flow and thermal management that results in characteristic, often highly textured microstructures, which lead to mechanical anisotropy. In this study, high-energy X-ray diffraction experiments were carried out to illuminate the formation and evolution of microstructural features during LPBF. The nickel-base alloy Inconel 625 was used for in situ experiments using a custom LPBF system designed for these investigations. The diffraction patterns yielded results regarding texture, lattice defects, recrystallization, and chemical segregation. A combination of high laser power and scanning speed results in a strong preferred crystallographic orientation, while low laser power and scanning speed showed no clear texture. The observation of a constant gauge volume revealed solid-state texture changes without remelting. They were related to in situ recrystallization processes caused by the repeated laser scanning. After recrystallization, the formation and growth of segregations were deduced from an increasing diffraction peak asymmetry and confirmed by ex situ scanning transmission electron microscopy.
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Published in: Journal of Materials Science, 10.1007/s10853-021-06577-8, Springer Nature