Evolution and Control of 2219 Aluminium Microstructural Features through Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication
Electron beam freeform fabrication (EBF3) is a new layer-additive process that has been developed for near-net shape fabrication of complex structures. EBF3 uses an electron beam to create a molten pool on the surface of a substrate. Wire is fed into the molten pool and the part translated with respect to the beam to build up a 3-dimensional structure one layer at a time. Unlike many other freeform fabrication processes, the energy coupling of the electron beam is extremely well suited to processing of aluminum alloys. The layer-additive nature of the EBF3 process results in a tortuous thermal path producing complex microstructures including: small homogeneous equiaxed grains; dendritic growth contained within larger grains; and/or pervasive dendritic formation in the interpass regions of the deposits. Several process control variables contribute to the formation of these different microstructures, including translation speed, wire feed rate, beam current and accelerating voltage. In electron beam processing, higher accelerating voltages embed the energy deeper below the surface of the substrate. Two EBF3 systems have been established at NASA Langley, one with a low-voltage (10-30kV) and the other a high-voltage (30-60 kV) electron beam gun. Aluminum alloy 2219 was processed over a range of different variables to explore the design space and correlate the resultant microstructures with the processing parameters. This report is specifically exploring the impact of accelerating voltage. Of particular interest is correlating energy to the resultant material characteristics to determine the potential of achieving microstructural control through precise management of the heat flux and cooling rates during deposition.
W.J. Poole, M.A. Wells and D.J. Lloyd
K. M. Taminger et al., "Evolution and Control of 2219 Aluminium Microstructural Features through Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication", Materials Science Forum, Vols. 519-521, pp. 1297-1302, 2006