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Additive manufacturing of high density pure tungsten by electron beam melting

: Dorow-Gerspach, D.; Kirchner, A.; Loewenhoff, T.; Pintsuk, G.; Weißgärber, T.; Wirtz, M.

Volltext ()

Nuclear materials and energy 28 (2021), Art. 101046, 8 S.
ISSN: 2352-1791
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IFAM, Institutsteil Pulvermetallurgie und Verbundwerkstoffe Dresden ()
selective electron beam melting; tungsten; transient heat loads; microstructure; Monoblock

Tungsten is an outstanding material and due to its properties like highest melting point and tensile strength of all natural metals and its high thermal conductivity it is a prime candidate for being used in very harsh environments and for challenging applications like X-ray tubes or as plasma facing material (PFM) in fusion reactors. Unfortunately, high brittle to ductile transition temperature and hardness represent a great challenge for classic manufacturing processes. Additive manufacturing (AM) of tungsten could overcome these limitations and resulting design restrictions. However, AM of tungsten also poses challenges in particular related to the production of material of high density and mechanical stability. Using a selective electron beam melting and a base temperature of 1000 °C of the powder, we were able to produce tungsten with a theoretical density of 99 % without the need of any post-treatment like a second melting step or a redensification by e.g. hot isostatic pressing (HIP). The surface morphology, microstructure, hardness, thermal conductivity and stability against severe transient heat loads were investigated with respect to the relevant building parameters and compared with recrystallized standard W. Besides simple test geometries also more sophisticated ones like monoblocks were successfully realized illustrating the potential of AM for fusion.