Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify if the implementation of ultrasonic vibration in laser engineered net shaping (LENS) process can help to reduce internal weaknesses such as porosity, coarse primary TiB whisker and heterogeneous distribution of TiB reinforcement in the LENS-fabricated TiB reinforced Ti matrix composites (TiB-TMC) parts. Design/methodology/approach: An experimental investigation is performed to achieve the results for comparative studies under different fabrication conditions through quantitative data analysis. An approach of microstructural characterization and mechanical testing is conducted to obtain the output attributes. In addition, the theoretical analysis of the physics of ultrasonic vibration in the melting materials is presented to explain the influences of ultrasonic vibration on the microstructural evolution occurred in the part fabrication. Findings: Because of the nonlinear effects of acoustic streaming and cavitation induced by ultrasonic vibration, porosity is significantly reduced and a relatively small variation of pore sizes is achieved. Ultrasonic vibration also causes the formation of smaller TiB whiskers that distribute along grain boundaries with a homogeneous dispersion. Additionally, a quasi-continuous network (QCN) microstructure is considerably finer than that produced by LENS process without ultrasonic vibration. The refinements of both reinforcing TiB whiskers and QCN microstructural grains further improve the microhardness of TiB-TMC parts. Originality/value: The novel ultrasonic vibration-assisted (UV-A) LENS process of TiB-TMC is conducted in this work for the first time to improve the process performance and part quality.
- Grain refinement
- Laser engineered net shaping (LENS)
- Titanium matrix composites
- Ultrasonic vibration