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Curing the porosity problem in additive manufacturing

Author : Gareth Ridge, Ultraseal International

08 March 2021

Additive manufacturing is becoming more commonplace across a wide range of industries, but is still subject to porosity, a well-known issue that causes leak paths and results in high-value components being scrapped.

Gareth Ridge, Operations Manager at the Slough, UK branch of Ultraseal International, talks about how additive printing consultancy, Graphite AM, resolved this issue after partnering with Ultraseal International. 

3D printing was once a revolutionary piece of technology but has now become a mainstream process in a number of industries. Due to its clean and simple process, additive manufacturing produces high-quality components and removes the need for expensive tooling and machining. 

However, while some industry pain points are removed as manufacturing technology evolves, one legacy challenge still remains: porosity. During the additive manufacturing process, microscopic holes that are invisible to the naked eye are formed within the body of the part. Known as porosity, this is already an inherent issue with diecast components, and while the cause and application might be different, the result is the same – with components ending in scrappage. 

In most cases, porosity is caused either by the powder used in the process, or the printing process itself. These microscopic voids reduce the density of components, leading to leaks, fatigue and cracks. For parts that go into applications that need to be air- or fluid-tight – for example in fuel or cooling systems – this can be an especially critical issue.

Read the full article in the March issue of DPA.

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