The microstructure homogeneity and variability in mechanical properties of 316L stainless steel components fabricated using selective laser melting (SLM) have been investigated. The crack free, 99.9% dense samples were made starting from SS316L alloy powder, and the melt pool morphology was analysed using optical and scanning electron microscopy. Extremely fast cooling rates after laser melting/solidification process, accompanied by slow diffusion of alloying elements, produced characteristic microstructures with colonies of cellular substructure inside grains, grown along the direction of the principal thermal gradient during laser scanning. In some areas of the microstructure, a significant number of precipitates were observed inside grains and at grain boundaries. Micro hardness measurements along the build direction revealed slight but gradual increase in hardness along the sample height. Uniaxial tensile tests of as manufactured samples showed the effect of un-melted areas causing scatter in room-temperature mechanical properties of samples extracted from the same SLM build. The ultimate tensile strength (UTS) varied from 458MPa to 509MPa along with a variation in uniform elongation from 3.3% to 14.4%. The UTS of a sample exposed to the Cl- rich corrosion environment at 46oC temperature revealed a similar strength as of the original sample, indicating good corrosion resistance of SLM samples under those corrosion conditions.
Iqbal, N., E. Jimenez-Melerob, E., Ankalkhope, U., & Lawrence, J. (2019). Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of 316L Stainless Steel Fabricated Using Selective Laser Melting. MRS Advances, 4(44-45), 2431-2439. https://doi.org/10.1557/adv.2019.251