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Nickel-based superalloy single crystals fabricated via electron beam melting...

by Patxi Fernandez-zelaia, Michael M Kirka, Andres E Marquez Rossy, Yousub Lee, Sebastien N Dryepondt
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Journal Name
Acta Materialia
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Additive manufacturing technologies have emerged as potential disruptive processes whose possible impacts range from supply chain logistics, prototyping, and novel materials synthesis. Numerous works illustrate the ability to control mi- crostructure in fusion based processes and a few recent authors have even produced single crystals. However, a number of open questions remain regarding the process window which enables printing of single crystals. Furthermore, it has been observed that these additively manufactured single crystals exhibit a preferred ⟨011⟩ secondary orientation. In this work we investigate fabrication conditions which enable printing of single crystals via electron beam melting. A space filling design of experiments is utilized to efficiently explore the fabrication space. Single crystals were success- fully obtained using both commercially available powders and custom melt alloys. Microstructures obtained via these exploratory experiments exhibited a continuum of columnar structures ranging from weakly textured polycrystals, near single crystal, and fully single crystalline material. Complex geometry experiments are performed to study the grain selection mechanism. We find that the grain selection mechanism is independent of the bulk scale geometry and must therefore by driven by local heat transfer and solidification dynamics. Furthermore, grain selection is shown to be driven by competing driving forces; one which prefers epitaxial growth and another which is driven by the imposed scan pattern geometry. A mechanism is proposed for the anomalous secondary orientation preference.