A penetrating gaze: System allows world’s first X-ray look at electron-beam 3D-printing process

One of the greatest areas of potential for 3D printing might be in the ability to realize geometrically challenging or one-of-a-kind designs—for example, a patient’s replacement scapula, designed from a scan of the original bone, or strong, lightweight components of a system that traveled to Mars for sampling the planet’s rocks and soil.

In cases such as these—in which each complex metal part was printed using an additive manufacturing technology known as electron beam powder bed fusion—failure due to defects hidden deep within the parts is not an option. Yet because of a lack of understanding of that printing process, those hidden defects still very much exist.

Now, a team of mechanical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has pioneered the world’s first system for concurrently using synchrotron X-ray imaging and diffraction, with complementary thermal and visible light imaging, to fully study the electron beam powder bed fusion process in real time.

Read full story at https://engineering.wisc.edu/news/a-penetrating-gaze-system-allows-worlds-first-x-ray-look-at-electron-beam-3d-printing-process/