Comparative study of eutectic Al-Si alloys manufactured by WAAM and casting
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Wire and arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) of metallic materials is expected to become part of the new industrial revolution. The possibilities for complex designs and superior mechanical properties can in many cases replace traditional manufacturing processes such as casting. In order to benchmark the properties of aluminium WAAM components, a comparative study was performed with two different casting techniques: permanent casting with steel mould and sand mould casting. Aluminium-silicon alloys with near eutectic composition were used for the comparison. Porosity levels, secondary dendrite arm spacing, grain size distribution, tensile strength and microhardness were considered for the comparison. The WAAM material exhibited superior mechanical properties originating from a finer dendritic and eutectic microstructure compared with the castings. A slight anisotropy in tensile ductility was observed in the WAAM material, probably due to a coarse microstructural zone between individual beads. All investigated materials had low levels of porosity, < 1% by area fraction. The comparative study has shown that WAAM of aluminium-silicon alloys is well suited for high-integrity applications.