Evaluation of selective laser sintering processes by optical coherence tomography

Guan, G., Hirsch, M., Lu, Z. H., Childs, D. T.D., Matcher, S. J., Goodridge, R., Groom, K. M. and Clare, A. T. (2015) Evaluation of selective laser sintering processes by optical coherence tomography. Materials and Design, 88, pp. 837-846. (doi:10.1016/j.matdes.2015.09.084)

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Abstract

Selective laser sintering (SLS) enables the fast, flexible and cost-efficient production of parts directly from 3D CAD data. Unlike more established machine tools, there is a marked lack of process monitoring and feedback control of key process variables. In-situ analysis techniques permit the emergence of repair techniques, in-process optimization of production parameters, and will also serve to save time and material. In this study, optical coherence tomography (OCT) is used for the first time to evaluate components produced by SLS. Using a Polyamide-PA2200, surface defects are analyzed and the limiting factors associated with the measurement technique are quantified. OCT is shown to be a useful technique for evaluating surface irregularities alongside sub-surface defects that have resulted from poor sintering or non-homogeneous powder spreading. We demonstrate detection and quantification of surface defects such as cracks, pores and voids on a ~ 30 μm scale. Furthermore, we show that this technique can resolve ‘built-in’ fine features within a 200 to 400 μm depth below the surface, covering typical layer thicknesses used by this process. This capability paves the way for real-time monitoring of the SLS process for assurance, or even dynamic correction of defects during the build.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Childs, Dr David
Authors: Guan, G., Hirsch, M., Lu, Z. H., Childs, D. T.D., Matcher, S. J., Goodridge, R., Groom, K. M., and Clare, A. T.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Journal Name:Materials and Design
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0261-3069
ISSN (Online):1873-4197
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Materials and Design 88:837-846
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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