Surface macro-smoothing and micro-structuring of additive manufactured components by using DLIP technique for controlling wetting characteristics
Titanium and aluminum alloys are becoming more and more important for aerospace industry because of their excellent mechanical and physical properties, namely high strength and low weight. These materials can be produced by additive manufacturing technologies which have a high potential for processing parts with complex geometries. Nowadays, additive manufactured components have a relative high initial roughness level due to its fabrication technique. From one side, it is known that the random surface topography can negatively affect the mechanical performance (for instance in fatigue) and, on the other hand, periodic defined structures can add functions such as water-repellent behaviors.
In this context, Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) was used to reduce the initial surface roughness of the AM parts and simultaneously producing a periodic structure to induce new surface functions. The additive manufactured samples were of Ti-6Al-4V (Ti64) and Scalmalloy® (Al-Mg-Sc) with an initial surface roughness Sa of approx. 80 μm. After the DLIP process the initial Sa has been reduced by more than 50 % in Ti64 and Scalmalloy, respectively, and surface structures with a periodicity of 20 μm and water repellent behavior were implemented. The high energetic pulsed laser radiation enabled melting and structuring of the components in one step. The surface topography and structure geometries of the additive manufactured components were characterized by Confocal Microscopy (CM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). Water contact angle measurements were used for the water repellent behavior of the surface.
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