On the optimal process window for powder-based laser-directed energy deposition of AA7050 under different robot programs and scanning strategies


Powder-based laser-directed energy deposition (L-DED) has drawn lots of attention during the last years because of the multiple application areas, such as coating, repairing, and building 3D structures. One challenge in L-DED is the limited variety of applicable materials, especially in the case of aluminum alloys. To broaden the material spectrum, the processability and the optimal process window of high-strength Al-alloy AA7050 are investigated in the present study. Besides the process parameters, special emphasis was paid to the scanning strategy and the robot program controlling. The present results show a strong effect of scanning strategy and robot program on buildability, geometrical accuracy, melt pool visibility, porosity level, and crack initiation. Hot cracks can be reduced or eliminated by choosing an appropriate combination of scanning strategy and robot program. Meanwhile, the geometrical accuracy of specimens with any height was well maintained. Based on the systematic experimental study, appropriate L-DED process parameters were identified for the deposition of structures up to 24 layers with a lower porosity level (about 3.7 ± 0.8 %) and lower amount of hot cracks, which are comparable with that in the 12-layer structure.
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