Comparison of Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Scalmalloy ® Produced by Selective Laser Melting and Laser Metal Deposition

Materials (Basel). 2017 Dec 23;11(1):17. doi: 10.3390/ma11010017.

Abstract

The second-generation aluminum-magnesium-scandium (Al-Mg-Sc) alloy, which is often referred to as Scalmalloy®, has been developed as a high-strength aluminum alloy for selective laser melting (SLM). The high-cooling rates of melt pools during SLM establishes the thermodynamic conditions for a fine-grained crack-free aluminum structure saturated with fine precipitates of the ceramic phase Al₃-Sc. The precipitation allows tensile and fatigue strength of Scalmalloy® to exceed those of AlSi10Mg by ~70%. Knowledge about properties of other additive manufacturing processes with slower cooling rates is currently not available. In this study, two batches of Scalmalloy® processed by SLM and laser metal deposition (LMD) are compared regarding microstructure-induced properties. Microstructural strengthening mechanisms behind enhanced strength and ductility are investigated by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Fatigue damage mechanisms in low-cycle (LCF) to high-cycle fatigue (HCF) are a subject of study in a combined strategy of experimental and statistical modeling for calculation of Woehler curves in the respective regimes. Modeling efforts are supported by non-destructive defect characterization in an X-ray computed tomography (µ-CT) platform. The investigations show that Scalmalloy® specimens produced by LMD are prone to extensive porosity, contrary to SLM specimens, which is translated to ~30% lower fatigue strength.

Keywords: Scalmalloy®; additive manufacturing; damage mechanisms; mechanical properties.