Nondestructive Evaluation of Additively Manufactured Metal Components with an Eddy Current Technique

The ability of Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes to ensure delivery of high quality metal-based components is somewhat limited by insufficient inspection capabilities. The inspection of AM parts presents particular challenges due to the design flexibility that the fabrication method affords. The nondestructive evaluation (NDE) methods employed need to be selected based on the material properties, type of possible defects, and geometry of the parts. Electromagnetic method, in particular Eddy Current (EC), is proposed for the inspections. This evaluation of EC inspection considers surface and near-surface defects in a stainless steel (SS) 17 4 PH additively manufactured sample and an SS 17 4 PH annealed plates manufactured traditionally (reference sample). The surfaces of the samples were polished using 1 micron polishing Alumina grit to achieve a mirror-like surface finish. 1.02 mm (0.04”), 0.508 mm (0.02”) and 0.203 mm (0.008”) deep Electronic Discharge Machining (EDM) notches were created on the polished surface of the samples. Lift off and defect responses for both additive and reference samples were obtained using a VMEC-1 commercial instrument and a 500 kHz absolute probe. The inspection results as well as conductivity assessments for the AM sample in terms of the impedance plane signature were compared to response of similar features in the reference sample. Direct measurement of electromagnetic properties of the AM samples is required for precise inspection of the parts. Results show that quantitative comparison of the AM and traditional materials help for the development of EC technology for inspection of additively manufactured metal parts.



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