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Porosity distribution in laser-sintered polymeric thin sheets as revealed by X-ray micro tomography

: Liebrich, Anna; Langowski, Horst-Christian; Schreiber, R.; Pinzer, B.R.


Polymer testing 76 (2019), pp.286-297
ISSN: 0142-9418
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IVV ()

Laser Sintering (LS) is an additive manufacturing technology that is progressively used to manufacture functional products for end-use applications. However, LS technology provides limited ability to produce thin-walled structures that feature high material quality. A key parameter determining the quality of LS polymeric parts is porosity. This article presents a new approach towards clarifying the porosity characteristics of thin-walled structures produced by LS. Therefore, thin sheets of different thickness built in different orientations within the building chamber are examined by means of X-ray micro tomography. The porosity analysis includes the overall porosity, pore number density, pore size distribution and porosity distribution along the thickness of the thin sheets. The results show that the porosity characteristics strongly depend on the thickness and the build orientation of the thin sheets. This investigation helps to estimate the quality of three dimensional hollow bodies produced by LS and moreover, contributes to a better understanding of the pore formation in LS processes.