Numerical Modeling of the Additive Manufacturing (Am) Processes of Titanium Alloy


Amin, A. K M. Nurul


It is easy to understand why industry and, especially, aerospace engineers love titanium. Titanium parts weigh roughly half as much as steel parts, but its strength is far greater than the strength of many alloy steels giving it an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio. Most titanium alloys are poor thermal conductors, thus heat generated during cutting does not dissipate through the part and machine structure, but concentrates in the cutting area. The high temperature generated during the cutting process also causes a work hardening phenomenon that affects the surface integrity of titanium, and could lead to geometric inaccuracies in the part and severe reduction in its fatigue strength [Benes, 2007]. On the contrary, additive manufacturing (AM) is an effective way to process titanium alloys as AM is principally thermal based, the effectiveness of AM processes depends on the material's thermal properties and its absorption of laser energy rather than on its mechanical properties. Therefore, brittle and hard materials can be processed easily if their thermal properties (e.g., conductivity, heat of fusion, etc.) are favorable, such as titanium. Cost effectiveness is also an important consideration for using additive manufacturing for titanium processing. Parts or products cast and/or machined from titanium and its alloys are very expensive, due to the processing difficulties and complexities during machining and casting. AM processes however, have been found to be very cost effective because they can produce near-net shape parts from these high performance metals with little or no machining [Liou & Kinsella, 2009]. In the aerospace industry, titanium and its alloys are used for many large structural components. When traditional machining/cast routines are adopted, conversion costs for these heavy section components can be prohibitive due to long lead time and low-yield material utilization [Eylon & Froes, 1984]. AM processes have the potential to shorten lead time and increase material utilization in these applications. The following sections 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 summarize the fundamental knowledge for the modeling of additive manufacturing processes.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Publication Date

01 Jan 2012