By uncoupling the manufacturability from the design process, additive manufacturing of the baseline material EUROFER97 can open significant design freedom for divertor and breeding blankets in fusion technology. As additive manufactured components are known to possess unique microstructures compared to EUROFER97 from standard technologies, the aim of this paper is to investigate additive manufactured EUROFER97 components and the influence of post processing steps on their microstructure and mechanical properties from a materials science point of view.
This paper covers the technological fabrication process of EUROFER97 by selective laser melting (SLM), including the production of pre-alloyed EUROFER97 powder, an SLM-parameter study and the design and production of custom-build thin walled test components by SLM. In the initial state after fabrication, SLM-EUROFER97 components exhibit a bimodal, anisotropic microstructure with large ferritic grains. The fraction of ferritic grains increases with decreasing wall thickness. A heat treatment including austenitization, quenching and tempering, allows to achieve a fully martensitic, uniform microstructure for all wall thicknesses. ... mehrTherefore, there is no influence of wall thickness on mechanical properties of EUROFER97 produced by SLM to be expected, as long as the SLM-part is submitted to an appropriate heat treatment.
Further, the comparison of the initial state after fabrication and after post processing reveals the necessity of both hot isostatic pressing and heat treatment to improve the performance. While all material conditions lead to sufficient tensile properties, the Charpy impact properties of SLM-EUROFER97 are inferior in comparison to conventionally produced EUROFER97. A heat treatment alone only improves the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature, whereas hot isostatic pressing reduced the residual porosity of the SLM parts and a subsequent heat treatment improved the ductile-to-brittle transition temperature as well as the upper shelf energy.