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Laser additive manufacturing of Zn porous scaffolds: Shielding gas flow, surface quality and densification

: Wen, Peng; Qin, Yu; Voshage, Maximilian; Jauer, Lucas; Poprawe, Reinhart; Schleifenbaum, Johannes Henrich


Journal of materials science & technology : JMST 35 (2019), Nr.2, S.368-376
ISSN: 1005-0302
ISSN: 1000-3029
Fraunhofer ILT ()
additive manufacturing; laser powder bed fusion; porous scaffold; Zinc

Zn based metals have exhibited promising prospects as a structural material for biodegradable applications. Pure Zn porous scaffolds were produced by laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) based on data files of designing and CT scanning. Massive Zn evaporation during laser melting largely influenced the formation quality during LPBF of Zn metal. The metal vapor in processing chamber was blown off and suctioned out efficiently by an optimized gas circulation system. Numerical analysis was used to design and testify the performance of gas flow. The surface of scaffolds was covered with numerous particles in different sizes. Processing pores occurred near the outline contour of struts. The average grain size in width was 8.5 μm, and the hardness was 43.8 HV. Chemical plus electrochemical polishing obtained uniform and smooth surface without processing pores, but the diameter of struts reduced to 250 μm from the design value 300 μm. The poor surface quality and processing pores were resulted by the splashing particles included spatters and powders due to the recoil force of evaporation, and the horizontal movement of liquid metal due to overheating and wetting. The insufficient melting at the outline contour combined with good wetting of Zn liquid metal further increased the surface roughness and processing pores.