Additive manufacturing (AM) is increasingly crucial in biomedical and aerospace industries. As a recently developed AM technique, selective laser melting (SLM) has become a commercial method for various manufacturing processes. However, the molten pool configuration during SLM of metal powders is a decisive issue for the product quality. It is very important to investigate the heat transfer characteristics during the laser heating process. In this work, the finite element method (FEM) software ANSYS® (work bench module 16.0) was used to predict the unsteady temperature distribution for resolving molten pool dimensions with consideration of temperature-dependent thermal physical properties of TiAl6V4 at different laser powers and scanning speeds. The simulated results of the temperature distributions illustrated that the ratio of laser power to scanning speed can greatly influence the size of molten pool of titanium alloy powder for SLM development.
Regardless of the manufacturing process used, subtractive or additive, material, purpose and application, produced components are conventionally solid mass with more or less complex shape depending on the production technology selected. Aspects such as reducing the weight of components, associated with the low volume of material required and the almost non-existent material waste, speed and flexibility of production and, primarily, a high mechanical strength combined with high structural performance, are competitive advantages in any industrial sector, from automotive, molds, aviation, aerospace, construction, pharmaceuticals, medicine and more recently in human tissue engineering. Such features, properties and functionalities are attained in metal components produced using the additive technique of Rapid Prototyping from metal powders commonly known as Selective Laser Melting (SLM), with optimized internal topologies and varying densities. In order to produce components with high strength and high structural and functional performance, regardless of the type of application, three different internal topologies were developed and analyzed using numerical computational tools. The developed topologies were numerically submitted to mechanical compression and four point bending testing. Finite Element Analysis results demonstrate how different internal topologies can contribute to improve mechanical properties, even with a high degree of porosity relatively to fully dense components. Results are very promising not only from the point of view of mechanical resistance, but especially through the achievement of considerable variation in density without loss of structural and functional high performance.