SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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CHARACTERISATION OF STEEL BLADE MICROSTRUCTURE PRODUCED USING LASER ENGINEERING NET SHAPE PROCESS
Levy Chauke, Kalenda Mutombo, Tebogo Mathebula

Last modified: 2014-10-26

Abstract


Laser rapid forming is a recently developed method for the production of metal parts. Several laser based method such as selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), and laser engineering net shaping (LENS) are available. Of the laser based techniques, the LENS process the LENS process was employed to produce steel blades. The advantages of the technique are the fast processing speed, the elimination of tooling requirements, the ability to fabricate intricate shapes at lower cost and the retention of the metastable microstructure. The LENS process has been concentrated on producing titanium metal parts. Suitability and possible defects of components produced by the LENS process on steel material has not yet been fully studied according to the author’s knowledge. The microstructure homogeneity plays an important role in producing uniform mechanical properties of 316L stainless steel during production. It has been found that the microstructure is very dependent on the heating profile during the laser heating process.

410L stainless steel powder was used to produce blades using the LENS process. The microstructure characterisation was performed using optical and scanning electron microscopes. Fully martensitic microstructure was observed. The hardness profile of the blade is high on the middle section of the blade than it is on the round and sharp edges of the blade. The aim of the study was to evaluate the microstructure and hardness of the steel blade produced by the LENS process.

 




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