Additive Manufacturing (AM), the layer-by layer build-up of parts, has lately become an option for serial production. Today, several metallic materials including the important engineering materials steel, aluminium and titanium may be processed to full dense parts with outstanding properties.
In this context, the present overview article describes the complex relationship between AM processes, microstructure and resulting properties for metals. It explains the fundamentals of Laser Beam Melting, Electron Beam Melting and Laser Metal Deposition, and introduces the commercially available materials for the different processes. Thereafter, typical microstructures for additively manufactured steel, aluminium and titanium are presented. Special attention is paid to AM specific grain structures, resulting from the complex thermal cycle and high cooling rates. The properties evolving as a consequence of the microstructure are elaborated under static and dynamic loading. According to these properties, typical applications are presented for the materials and methods for conclusion.
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