Additive manufacturing (AM) is an emerging technology used to build geometrically complex structures that are light-weight. Indeed, in comparison to subtractive methods such as machining, AM is based on a “bottom-up” approach in which the specimens are built layer-by-layer directly from the 3D model data. Selective Laser Melting (SLM), also known as Laser Beam Melting (LBM), is an AM process employed to build 3D metallic materials from a powder bed using a laser heat source.
This emerging technology has several advantages that seduced aeronautical companies such as SABCA. Indeed, besides the economic and environmental aspects of optimized weight/volume ratio, SLM offers design optimization and time saving, which are of prime concern in many fields.
In the AEROSTREAM project, ULB works in close collaboration with VUB and UCL in order to study the link between the SLM process parameters and the final properties of a part made of AlSi10Mg such as density, hardness, fatigue, corrosion resistance, etc. 4MAT will focus on the microstructure characterization and the influence of varying process parameters. Different heat treatments will also be applied in order to study the link between the microstructure evolution and the resulting properties of a part.