A novel Apparatus for the Simulation of Powder Spreading Procedures in Powder-Bed-Based Additive Manufacturing Processes: Design, Calibration, and Case Study
Brika, S.E.; Brailovski, V. (2023). A novel Apparatus for the Simulation of Powder Spreading Procedures in Powder-Bed-Based Additive Manufacturing Processes: Design, Calibration, and Case Study. J. Manuf. Mater. Process. 2023, 7(4), 135.
Powder-bed-based additive manufacturing processes (PBAM) are sensitive to variations in powder feedstock characteristics, and yet the link between the powder properties and process performance is still not well established, which complicates the powder selection, quality control, and process improvement processes. An accurate assessment of the powder characteristics and behavior during recoating is important and must include the flow and packing properties of the powders, which are dependent on the application conditions. To fulfill the need for suitable powder testing techniques, a novel apparatus is developed to reproduce the generic PBAM powder spreading procedure and allow the measurements of the powder bed density, surface uniformity, and spreading forces as functions of the powder characteristics and spreading conditions, including the spreading speed and the type of spreading mechanism. This equipment could be used for research and development purposes as well as for the quality control of the PBAM powder feedstock, as showcased in this paper using a gas-atomized Ti-6Al-4V powder (D10 = 25.3 µm, D50 = 35.8 µm and D90 = 46.4 µm) spread using a rigid blade by varying the recoating speed from 100 to 500 mm/s and the layer thickness from 30 to 100 µm.