Additive Manufacturing and Thermal Analysis: characterization of powders and end products

image-3d-printing-bdAdditive manufacturing – or 3D printing – is a family of innovating processes for the production of either prototypes or series of objects.  Firstly, this production is computer controlled, which does require minimum human action for the manufacturing itself (although extensive design and engineering work is still required). Then it is based on the deposition of successive layers of material, which allows both for starting material savings and for the design of highly complex structures. A number of processes such as Fused Deposition Modeling or Laser Metal Deposition are available, involving selected types of polymers (ABS, PC, PE, PA, PEEK,…) or metal powders (Steels, Inconels, Al based alloys, Ti based alloys…).

Among the many challenges faced to control the quality of the manufactured parts, the thermal characterization of the genuine and recycled powders and of the constitutive material of the produced part is very important.

Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Thermogravimetric Analysis and Thermomechanical Analysis are particularly well suited for this purpose as they can provide key data for the understanding of the powders and materials behavior, and thus help at setting the appropriate process parameters and improve the reproducibility of the production of the parts.

Powders (polymers, metals)

ParameterApplicable Thermal Analysis techniqueSETARAM Instruments
Temperature and heat of melting, crystallizationDifferential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC)DSC131 evo(-170 / 700°C)
SENSYS evo (-120 / 830°C)
LABSYS evo DSC (RT / 1150 or 1600°C)
MHTC96 (RT/1600°C)
Temperature of glass transition
Amorphous / crystalline ratio
Purity control
Humidity levelThermogravimetric Analysis (TGA)LABSYS evo TGA (RT / 1150 or 1600°C)
SETSYS Evolution TGA (RT / 1750 or 2400°C)
Thermal stability

Manufactured material

ParameterApplicable Thermal Analysis techniqueSETARAM Instruments
Thermal ConductivityModified Transient Plane SourceC-Therm TCi (-50 / 200°C or 300°C)
Heat CapacityDSC or calorimetryDSC131 evo(-170 / 700°C)
SENSYS evo (-120 / 830°C)
C80 (RT / 300°C), BT2.15 (-196 / 200°C)
LABSYS evo DSC (RT / 1150 or 1600°C)
MHTC96 (RT/1600°C)
Thermal Expansion CoefficientThermomechanical Analysis (TMA)SETSYS Evolution TMA (RT / 1750 or 2400°C)

 

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