Abstract

In the course of the selective laser melting (SLM) process, the part is built layer by layer involving partial remelting/heating of the previous layer, called as intrinsic heat treatment. Therefore, superficial properties of as-built parts are somewhat different from that of the inside of the part. In this work, the nano-tribological behavior of the commercial pure Ti (CP-Ti) sample built using SLM was investigated considering the near-surface regions with focus on the effect of intrinsic heat treatment. Microstructure and nano-testing allow identifying specific sliding behaviors in three attitude regions: (I) surface (0–50 µm), (II) subsurface (50–200 µm), and (III) inner-part (below 200 µm). The average hardness drops slightly when moving from Regions I and II (3.35 GPa) to Region III (3.09 GPa). The coefficient of friction (COF) values vary from 0.18 to 0.45 for all three regions, and the Region III presents highest worn trace width of 5.8 μm. Regions I and III promote a stick-and-slip behavior while sliding is smooth and continuous in Region II. This gradient microstructural characterization enables associating the behavior of Region II to large-sized lath martensite α′ morphology, which is different from the Regions I and III with finer microstructure. A finite element analysis (FEA) thermal model suggests that the existence of the three identified regions is the consequence of the intrinsic heat treatment induced by the SLM process, in which the remelting/heating and recrystallization have been considered as the main reasons for microstructure coarsening and refinement between Regions I and II, Regions II and III, respectively.

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