Assessing the grain structure of highly X-ray absorbing metallic alloys


Selective laser melting allows the fabrication of NiTi implants with pre-defined, complex shapes. The control of the process parameters regulates the arrangement of the granular microstructure of the NiTi alloy. We prepared specimens with elongated grains, which build a sound basis for diffraction contrast tomography experiments using synchrotron radiation and for electron backscatter diffraction measurements. Both approaches reveal the orientation and size of the individual grains within the specimen. Still, electron backscatter diffraction is confined to two-dimensional cross-sections while diffraction contrast tomography reveals these microstructural features in three dimensions. We demonstrate that the grains in the selective laser melted specimen, which are oriented along the building direction, do not exhibit a well-defined planar grain orientation but are twisted. These twisted grains give rise to diffraction spots observable for several degrees of specimen rotation simultaneously to the acquisition of tomography data.
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