Case Studies

Thermo-Mechanical Modeling of Wire-Fed Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing

The primary objective of this research was to develop a finite element model specifically designed for electron beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) of Ti-6Al-4V to understand metallurgical and mechanical aspects of the process. Multiple single-layer and 10 layer build Ti-6Al-4V samples were fabricated to validate the simulation results and ensure the reliability of the developed model. Thin wall plates of 3 mm thickness were used as substrates. Thermocouple measurements were recorded to validate the simulated thermal cycles. Predicted and measured temperatures, residual stresses, and distortion profiles showed that the model is quite reliable. The thermal predictions of the model, when validated experimentally, gave a low average error of 3.7%. The model proved to be extremely successful for predicting the cooling rates, grain morphology, and the microstructure. The maximum deviations observed in the mechanical predictions of the model were as low as 100 MPa in residual stresses and 0.05 mm in distortion. Tensile residual stresses were observed in the deposit and the heat-affected zone, while compressive stresses were observed in the core of the substrate. The highest tensile residual stress observed in the deposit was approximately 1.0 σys (yield strength). The highest distortion on the substrate was approximately 0.2 mm.