Additive Manufacturing offers the opportunity to rapidly produce custom, complex, topologically optimized parts in hours. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for material qualification. To complement the rapid nature and geometrically complex capabilities of additive manufacturing, a rapid high-throughput tensile test method has been developed. This method permits ~100 tensile tests in a few hours of test time and for the same cost as a few conventional tensile tests, allowing for robust statistical assessments of the extreme-value tails of property distributions. As a proof of concept, the method was applied to the evaluation of an additively manufactured precipitation-hardened stainless steel produced by two commercial vendors. The method revealed rare, statistically anomalous failures associated with sporadic manufacturing defects. These rare statistical outliers would have been missed by a few conventional tests. Through this rapid property assessment, it is possible to shorten the process-structure-properties feedback cycle and more quickly converge on reliable solutions. Moreover, the high-throughput methodology is amenable to combinatorial parametric studies to optimize process parameters. Building from the success in high-throughput mechanical properties assessment, Sandia is now exploring ways to accelerate many aspects of structure and property measurement.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multi-program laboratory managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.