Nanoparticle Additivation Effects on Laser Powder Bed Fusion of Metals and Polymers : A Theoretical Concept for an Inter-Laboratory Study Design All Along the Process Chain, Including Research Data Management
In recent years, the application field of laser powder bed fusion of metals and polymers extends through an increasing variability of powder compositions in the market. New powder formulations such as nanoparticle (NP) additivated powder feedstocks are available today. Interestingly, they behave differently along with the entire laser powder bed fusion (PBF-LB) process chain, from flowability over absorbance and microstructure formation to processability and final part properties. Recent studies show that supporting NPs on metal and polymer powder feedstocks enhances processability, avoids crack formation, refines grain size, increases functionality, and improves as-built part properties. Although several inter-laboratory studies (ILSs) on metal and polymer PBF-LB exist, they mainly focus on mechanical properties and primarily ignore nano-additivated feedstocks or standardized assessment of powder feedstock properties. However, those studies must obtain reliable data to validate each property metric’s repeatability and reproducibility limits related to the PBF-LB process chain. We herein propose the design of a large-scale ILS to quantify the effect of nanoparticle additivation on powder characteristics, process behavior, microstructure, and part properties in PBF-LB. Besides the work and sample flow to organize the ILS, the test methods to measure the NP-additivated metal and polymer powder feedstock properties and resulting part properties are defined. A research data management (RDM) plan is designed to extract scientific results from the vast amount of material, process, and part data. The RDM focuses not only on the repeatability and reproducibility of a metric but also on the FAIR principle to include findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable data/meta-data in additive manufacturing. The proposed ILS design gives access to principal component analysis (PCA) to compute the correlations between the material–process–microstructure–part properties.