Home Research & Education Researchers observe metal 3D printing with X-rays in real time

Researchers observe metal 3D printing with X-rays in real time

Scientists at Cornell University have studied microstructure formation during 3D printing of metals using X-rays. By observing the process in real time, they hope to gain a better understanding of the process and thus produce improved material properties in a targeted manner.

The experiment used a mobile-mounted 3D metal printer at the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source. During the printing process, the powder bed made of a nickel-based alloy was transilluminated with focused X-rays.

Based on the diffraction patterns, the researchers led by Professor Atieh Moridi were able to draw conclusions about the resulting microstructure. In contrast to the usual subsequent analysis, this was done here in real time during printing.

According to the scientists, this method revealed unique insights into the interaction of thermal and mechanical effects during 3D printing. Phenomena such as torsion, bending, fragmentation and vibration were observed at the micro level.

In the long term, the researchers hope to be able to specifically influence the properties of 3D-printed metal components by understanding these processes. In the future, real-time analysis using X-rays will also be applied to other materials such as titanium alloys.

The group’s paper, “Dendritic Deformation Modes in Additive Manufacturing Revealed by Operando X-Ray Diffraction,” published Oct. 10 in Nature Communications Materials. The lead author is doctoral student Adrita Dass, M.S. ’20.

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