Selective laser melting additive manufacturing of 7xxx series Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy: Cracking elimination by co-incorporation of Si and TiB2


7xxx Al alloys such as Al-Zn-Mg-Cu are typical lightweight materials of excellent mechanical performance. Their near-net-shape manufacturing by selective laser melting (SLM) additive manufacturing, however, remains challenging due to hot-cracking prone nature of these alloys, when subjected to rapid solidification during the SLM process. In this study, we propose that co-incorporation of submicron Si and TiB2 to an Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy is capable to solve the long-standing problem by reducing solidification shrinkage and, simultaneously, enhancing its fracture toughness. Results show that solidification cracks indeed have been eliminated by the co-incorporation, along with much-refined microstructure. The resultant mechanical properties are high in ultimate tensile (556 ± 12 MPa) and yield strengths (455 ± 4.3 MPa). For disclosing the underlying mechanism, analytical means including high-resolution computer tomography, transmission electron microscopy and electron backscatter diffraction, as well as finite element simulation have been employed. It is aspired that the current approach can enable SLM to process critical engineering materials such as the hard-to-weld Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys.
QR Code: Link to publication