Enabling Additive Manufacturing of Reflective Metals

J.E. Barnes, M. Vlasea
Metal Powder Works,
United States

Keywords: additive manufacturing, powders, materials


Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) of high reflectivity materials such as Cu and Al alloys poses processing challenges of porosity and cracking. Atomization of these powder metals poses additional challenges due to the resulting high-reflectivity shiny spherical surface. In this approach, we combined a new way to manufacturing powders of Cu and Al which culminated in being able to achieve high density at 40% less power, thus opening a large section of existing printers to be capable of processing Cu. A combination of physics-driven LPBF processing diagrams, melt pool simulations, beam path planning, and advanced material characterization equipment including X-ray computed tomography, in situ optical tomography, and in situ powder bed imaging were used in the process parameters development cycle. The DirectPowder™ method used to manufacturing powders is also more sustainable due to its high efficiency in size and extremely low CO2 emissions.