Electrochemical Polishing of Extruded and Laser Powder-Bed-Fused Inconel 718
Electro-chemical polishing (ECP) was utilized to produce sub-micron surface finish on Inconel 718 parts manufactured by Laser Powder-Bed-Fusion (L-PBF) and extrusion methods. The L-PBF parts had very rough surfaces due to semi-welded powder particles, surface defects, and difference layer steps that were generally not found on surfaces of extruded and machined components. This study compared the results of electro-polishing of these differently manufactured parts under the same conditions. Titanium electrode was used with an acid-based electrolyte to polish both the specimens at different combinations of pulsed current density, duty cycle, and polishing time. Digital 3D optical profiler was used to assess the surface finish, while optical and scanning electron microscopy was utilized to observe the microstructure of polished specimens. At optimal condition, the ECP successfully reduced the surface of L-PBF part from 17 Âµm to 0.25 Âµm; further polishing did not improve the surface finish due to different removal rates of micro-leveled pores, cracks, nonconductive phases, and carbide particles in 3D-printed Inconel 718. The microstructure of extruded materials was uniform and free of processing defects, therefore can be polished consistently to 0.20 Âµm. Over-polishing of extruded material could improve its surface finish, but not for the L-PBF material due to defects and the surrounding micro-strain.
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