In situ tailoring microstructure in additively manufactured Ti-6Al-4V for superior mechanical performance

W. Xu*, E. W. Lui, A. Pateras, M. Qian, M. Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

453 Citations (Scopus)


The “Holy Grail” of metal additive manufacturing is to manufacture reliable high-performance metal parts with no or a minimal need of post processing. However, Ti-6Al-4V parts made by selective laser melting (SLM) often suffer from poor ductility and low toughness because of the predominant acicular α′ martensite contained in columnar prior-β grains. In practice, post heat treatment is necessary. To overcome this deficiency, we have explored designing innovative SLM processing routes to turn the unfavoured α′ martensite, via in-situ decomposition, into lamellar (α+β) microstructures with tuneable characteristic length scales. Such lamellar (α+β) microstructures lead to superior mechanical properties which markedly exceed ASTM standards and outperform the majority of Ti-6Al-4V fabricated by other additive manufacturing processes. Furthermore, we find that the lattice parameter of the β phase in the (α+β) lamellae falls into a specific range of 3.18–3.21 Å. Hence the lattice parameter of β phase can serve as an indicator to predict whether significant martensite decomposition has taken place in situ in Ti-6Al-4V made by SLM. This work marks an important step forward in the understanding of how to tailor microstructure in situ for the development of high-performance Ti-6Al-4V parts by SLM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-400
Number of pages11
JournalActa Materialia
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2017


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Martensite decomposition
  • Microstructural control
  • Selective laser melting
  • Ti-6Al-4V


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