In this research, a micro-plasma system was investigated for its capability in additive manufacturing (AM). Micro-plasma AM system has the advantage of lower cost and higher deposition rate over laser based AM systems, and generates leaner and cleaner weld deposit than other arc based AM systems. However, the micro-plasma system is complex and involves a large number of process variables. In this study, the feasibility of using a micro-plasma system for additive manufacturing was assessed based on surface features, mechanical properties and microstructure. In addition, two arc and wire feed modes were examined to understand the effects of these two variables. Each was used to produce IN 718 superalloy samples for macro- and microstructure evaluation, hardness, wear, and tensile tests along both long and transverse directions. Preliminary results showed that crack free samples, measured up to 100 mm x 40 mm, can be generated without measurable distortion. Some surface discoloration was observed, ranging from light straw to a purple tint. After heat treatment, the hardness of the samples varies from 403 to 440 HV, with the transverse surface showing slightly lower hardness values. Pin-on-disk wear test yielded consistent wear volume for three sets of the samples produced using different process parameters; however, samples produced with no modifications to the current and wire feed mode showed marginally higher wear rate. Microstructural analysis with SEM and EDS revealed presence of small pinholes, measured from submicron up to 22 μm in diameter, and no indication of any cracks or boundary layers between passes. SEM analysis revealed the presence of high contrast Nb/Mo rich carbides along with γ"- Ni3Nb in the γ matrix. Finally, tensile test was carried out to understand the anisotropic behavior; the results showed that transverse direction had lower tensile strength and ductility. Samples produced with pulsed current and wire feed mode had lower yield/tensile strength but higher ductility than that without current and wire feed mode modification.

Additive manufacturing, Distortion, Key parameters, Mechanical properties, Micro-plasma, Microstructure, Process development, Surface finish
ASME Turbo Expo 2018: Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition, GT 2018
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Nagy, J. (Jason), & Huang, X. (2018). Assessing the feasibility of micro-plasma technology for additive manufacturing. In Proceedings of the ASME Turbo Expo. doi:10.1115/GT2018-75119