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  1. Ni–Mn–Ga Heusler alloys are multifunctional materials that demonstrate macroscopic strain under an externally applied magnetic field through the motion of martensite twin boundaries within the microstructure. This study sought to comprehensively characterize the microstructural, mechanical, thermal, and magnetic properties near the solidus in binder-jet 3D printed 14M Ni50Mn30Ga20. Neutron diffraction data were analyzed to identify the martensite modulation and observe the grain size evolution in samples sintered at temperatures of 1080 °C and 1090 °C. Large clusters of high neutron-count pixels in samples sintered at 1090 °C were identified, suggesting Bragg diffraction of large grains (near doubling in size) compared to 1080 °C sintered samples. The grain size was confirmed through quantitative stereology of polished surfaces for differently sintered and heat-treated samples. Nanoindentation testing revealed a greater resistance to plasticity and a larger elastic modulus in 1090 °C sintered samples (relative density ~95%) compared to the samples sintered at 1080 °C (relative density ~80%). Martensitic transformation temperatures were lower for samples sintered at 1090 °C than 1080 °C, though a further heat treatment step could be added to tailor the transformation temperature. Microstructurally, twin variants ≤10 μm in width were observed and the presence of magnetic anisotropy was confirmed through magnetic force microscopy. This study indicates that a 10 °C sintering temperature difference can largely affect the microstructure and mechanical properties (including elastic modulus and hardness) while still allowing for the presence of magnetic twin variants in the resulting modulated martensite. 
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  2. null (Ed.)
    Binder jet 3D printing combined with post-deposition sintering is a non-beam additive manufacturing (AM) method for the creation of complex metallic structures. Binder saturation and particle morphology are two important factors affecting the quality of printed parts. Here, we investigated the effects of binder saturation on dimension accuracy, porosity, microstructure and microhardness of nickel-based alloy 625 samples made of differently atomized powders. Argon gas atomized (GA) and water atomized (WA) nickel-based alloy 625 powders were used to binder jet samples for a detailed comparative study. The optimal binder saturation for WA system is 60% to 70%, whereas for GA system the optimal is about 80%. Generally, GA samples achieved better overall quality than WA samples in terms of packing density, dimensional accuracy, sintered density, and microhardness. This difference is attributed mainly to the particle morphology including sphericity and roundness. The critical threshold for visible binder bleeding phenomenon in WA and GA systems is determined to be 120% and 140% binder saturation, respectively. Mechanisms for binder bleeding phenomenon at different saturation levels for WA and GA systems are discussed in detail. A pore evolution model is proposed to better understand the printing and sintering processes. 
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  3. null (Ed.)