Copper Alloy-Stainless Steel Bimetallic Combination Achieved Through Additive Manufacturing. Researchers have recently achieved a significant milestone in the development of copper alloy-stainless steel (SS316L) bimetallic combinations using additive manufacturing (AM).
This successful demonstration, which involved building stainless steel on the copper alloy using the selective laser melting process, has the potential to revolutionize various industries such as aerospace, automotive, and energy.
The tensile coupon, which had an interface at the center of the gauge length, failed on the copper alloy side away from the interface region. This prompted scientists to investigate the interface bonding mechanism and the correlation between microstructural and mechanical properties.
Microstructural characterization of the initial few deposited layers revealed circular melt pool features, which showcased an inter-presence of copper and steel-rich regions. This observation is due to the intensification of the Marangoni convection in the melt pool during the selective laser melting process.
Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) analysis of the interface region exposed the formation of nano-sized Fe-rich particles within the copper-rich matrix. The diffusion of Fe, Cr, and Ni elements from the steel to the copper side, as confirmed by energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), led to the solid solution strengthening of copper near the interface. This phenomenon was also evident in the micro-hardness profile.
The bimetallic interface exhibited higher strength than the copper alloy alone, thanks to the strong interface bonding. This bonding is likely due to the presence of an interconnected network of copper and steel-rich regions at different length scales.
The successful development of this copper alloy-stainless steel bimetallic combination through additive manufacturing offers significant benefits. It allows for the production of parts with tailored mechanical properties, which can help enhance performance in various applications. Additionally, it enables the creation of lightweight components with improved wear and corrosion resistance, as well as thermal and electrical conductivity.
The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the bonding mechanisms and correlations between microstructural and mechanical properties in bimetallic combinations. This knowledge can serve as a basis for further research and development in the field of additive manufacturing, paving the way for more advanced and efficient materials.
With the ever-growing demand for lighter, stronger, and more durable materials, this breakthrough has the potential to transform numerous industries. The successful demonstration of the copper alloy-stainless steel bimetallic combination using additive manufacturing is a significant step forward in unlocking the full potential of these materials and their applications.
Publication: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmapro.2022.06.055
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