In Situ Formation of a Metastable β-Ti Alloy by Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) of Vanadium and Iron Modified Ti-6Al-4V
The aim of this work is to investigate the β-Ti-phase-stabilizing effect of vanadium and iron added to Ti-6Al-4V powder by means of heterogeneous powder mixtures and in situ alloy-formation during laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF). The resulting microstructure was analyzed by metallographic methods, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). The mechanical properties were characterized by compression tests, both prior to and after heat-treating. Energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy showed a homogeneous element distribution, proving the feasibility of in situ alloying by LPBF. Due to the β-phase-stabilizing effect of V and Fe added to Ti-6Al-4V, instead of an α’-martensitic microstructure, an α/β-microstructure containing at least 63.8% β-phase develops. Depending on the post L-PBF heat-treatment, either an increased upsetting at failure (33.9%) compared to unmodified Ti-6Al-4V (28.8%), or an exceptional high compressive yield strength (1857 ± 35 MPa compared to 1100 MPa) were measured. The hardness of the in situ alloyed material ranges from 336 ± 7 HV0.5, in as-built condition, to 543 ± 13 HV0.5 after precipitation-hardening. Hence, the range of achievable mechanical properties in dependence of the post-L-PBF heat-treatment can be significantly expanded in comparison to unmodified Ti-6Al-4V, thus providing increased flexibility for additive manufacturing of titanium parts.