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Optimization of the mechanical properties of Ti-6Al-4V alloy fabricated by selective laser melting using thermohydrogen processes

BILGIN, Guney Mert
Esen, Ziya
Akin, Seniz Kushan
Dericioğlu, Arcan Fehmi
2-step Thermo Hydrogen Process (THP) including hydrogenation and dehydrogenation steps was applied to Ti-6Al-4V alloy fabricated by selective laser melting (SLM) process to refine the microstructure and to increase the ductility of the alloy. It was observed that as-fabricated alloy's surface was composed of oxides of titanium and aluminum, which may alter the hydrogenation kinetics. The hydrogen treatment for 1 hat 650 degrees C, the maximum hydrogen solubility temperature of the alloy, transformed starting non-equilibrium alpha'-martensitic phase to 13 and 8 (TiH2) phases. On the other hand, very fine discontinuous beta-phase was formed along with alpha-phase as a result of dehydrogenation at 700 degrees C for 18 h, which decreased the hydrogen level well below the starting value and caused transformation of delta-phase to fine alpha-phase. In contrast to commonly used THP treatments consisting of betatizing at high temperature, 2-step treatment prevented grain boundary alpha-phase formation as well as excessive grain growth. About 110% and 240% increments were detected in % Elongation (EL) and % Reduction in Area (RA) values, respectively, as a result of 2-step THP, while the strength decrease was limited to 10%. The change in ductility of the alloy was also verified by transformation of flat and shiny fracture surfaces seen in SLM fabricated alloy to a fracture surface containing equiaxed dimples after THP treatment. The hardness drop in the alloy after hydrogenation and dehydrogenation treatments was attributed to relief of residual stress and formation of equilibrium alpha and beta-phases.