oa Interim : Interdisciplinary Journal - Multi material powder delivering systems for selective laser melting
Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is a powder bed fusion process which is an additive manufacturing (AM) process, whereby a laser beam selectively fuses regions of a powder bed to form complex objects. Growth in the SLM field has revealed the need for parts containing multiple materials for applications in the medical, tool making, aerospace and other hi-tech industries. By applying multiple materials, regions with different mechanical properties, thermal conductivity zones or corrosion-resistant coatings can be achieved in a single manufacturing cycle utilizing the SLM process. With the SLM process physical bonds can be formed between different materials by creating an interlocking interface due to the rapid solidification of the molten materials. With the current SLM equipment, multi material objects are possible but only with material differences between the layers. New approaches are needed to develop a method that allows multi material parts not only in the Z axis, but also allow material differences on a single layer (X-Y axis). Approaches such as powder feeding through a capillary tube, auger feed system, electrostatic charge or masks have all been proposed as solutions to multi material deposition. Multi material objects produced in a single cycle with complex geometry and prescribed properties has the opportunity of further growing the AM market.
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