Effects of spatial energy distribution-induced porosity on mechanical properties of laser powder bed fusion 316L stainless steel
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Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing (AM) offers a variety of advantages over traditional manufacturing, but the usefulness of AM for manufacturing of high-performance components is currently hampered by internal defects (porosity) created during the LPBF process that have an unknown impact on global mechanical performance. By inducing porosity distributions through variations in print energy density and inspecting the resulting tensile samples using computed tomography and scanning electron microscopy, nearly 50,000 pores across 75 samples were identified. Porosity characteristics were quantitatively extracted from inspection data and compared with mechanical properties to understand the strength of relationships between porosity and global tensile performance. Useful porosity characteristics were identified for reliable prediction of part performance. These results establish an understanding of the complex defect-performance relationship in AM 316L stainless steel and can be leveraged to develop certification standards and improve confidence in part quality and reliability for the broader set of engineering alloys.