Selective laser melting of metal matrix composites: Feedstock powder preparation by electroless plating
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. The objective of this work is to investigate the feasibility to use electroless plating as a feedstock powder production method for additive manufacturing of metal matrix composites (MMCs). MMCs are of importance because of their improved properties compared with existing metallic alloys for additive manufacturing. However, the current powder processing methods (e.g., high-energy ball milling) are difficult to incorporate a high fraction of nanoparticles with a homogeneous dispersion. Electroless plating is proposed to produce MMC powder in this work. Ni/Al 2 O 3 composite powder with a high fraction of Al 2 O 3 nanoparticles was successfully produced using a Ni electroless plating bath containing Al 2 O 3 nanopowder. X-ray diffraction analysis was performed on the prepared powders, showing both Ni and Al 2 O 3 phases as designed. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) characterization showed the Ni and Al 2 O 3 phases were uniformly distributed in the powder. The Ni/Al 2 O 3 powder was then laser melted into tracks to investigate the effects of process parameters using a commercial selective laser melting (SLM) system. SEM showed stable tracks were achieved under a wide range of process parameters. Both Ni and Al 2 O 3 phases were identified in the melted tracks, possessing a hierarchical micro/nano-structure. The SLM behavior demonstrated the feasibility of electroless plating for producing MMC feedstock powder.
author list (cited authors)
Li, M., Fang, A., Martinez-Franco, E., Alvarado-Orozco, J. M., Pei, Z., & Ma, C.