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Multi-scale characterization of supersolidus liquid phase sintered H13 tool steel manufactured via binder jet additive manufa...

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Additive Manufacturing
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Additive manufacturing (AM) of H13 tool steel by binder jet 3D printing (BJ3DP) followed by pressureless supersolidus liquid phase sintering (SLPS) provides a low-cost alternative manufacturing method for components with intricate geometric features. However, the microstructure-mechanical property relationships for BJ3DP-SLPS produced H13 tool steel are not well understood, which makes it challenging to develop printing and post-processing methods that maximize part performance. In this work, we leverage atom probe tomography and transmission electron microscopy along with thermodynamic calculations to rationalize the microstructure-mechanical property relationships in as-sintered BJ3DP H13 tool steel. We report for the first time, the presence of a continuous eutectic film-like carbide in H13 along with the more commonly observed cuboidal MX carbides in the prior liquid channels of the microstructure. Further, atom probe tomography revealed the interconnected nature of the MX carbides that appear to be discrete in two-dimensional micrographs. These continuous eutectic carbides and interconnected MX carbides result in brittle failure of the material. Characterization of these microstructural features will be critical in developing appropriate post-processing heat treatments for the improved mechanical performance of BJ3DP H13.