Strain-rate response of 3D printed 17-4PH stainless steel manufactured via selective laser melting

Brando, Giuseppe and Romana Andreacola, Francesca and Capasso, Ilaria and Forni, Daniele and Cadoni, Ezio (2023) Strain-rate response of 3D printed 17-4PH stainless steel manufactured via selective laser melting. Construction and Building Materials, 409 (133971).

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This research work aims at investigating the strain rate effects on the 17-4PH stainless steel produced by Selective Laser Melting (SLM), with the final goal of adding knowledge about its mechanical performance for applications under certain dynamic conditions. Mechanical characterization of 3D-printed samples was performed using a universal quasi-static electro-mechanical machine, a hydro-pneumatic machines, and a split Hopkinson Tensile Bar device for quasi-static, intermediate (5 s−1) and high strain-rates (100 s−1 and 300 s−1), respectively. The use of this technology represents the most interesting breakthrough of the paper, allowing to identify and to evaluate the performance of 3D-printed metals in relation to impacts or other dynamic conditions typical of different areas of engineering, which are impossible to be obtained by other technologies. The conducted tests allowed to identify the main information on the material behaviour, from the quasi-static to the high strain-rate regime, mainly in terms of stress–strain curves and fracture, and the behaviour after fracture was assessed by applying the Bridgman equations. The effect of horizontal and vertical printing directions, as well as of an annealing heat treatment, are also discussed. According to the evaluation of the main mechanical parameters, the strain-rate increase affects the mechanical behaviour both in the horizontal and vertical directions: samples built horizontally show increased yield stress and ultimate strain and decreased ultimate strain, whereas specimens printed vertically exhibit a remarkable increase in yield stress and a decrease of the ultimate stresses and strains. However, the better behaviour observed, with respect to the horizontally printed specimens, for vertically printed specimens in the quasi-static regime was no longer observed for intermediate and high strain rates. Moreover, all heat-treated specimens present higher strain-rate sensitivity than not heat-treated ones. Finally, the applicability of the existing Johnson-Cook material strength model to represent the mechanical behavior of 3D printed 17-4PH stainless steel is examined. The obtained results represent an important contribution to the current literature, because the dynamic behaviour of 17-4PH stainless steel produced by SLM, under the studied strain rates values, have been scarcely investigated so far.

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