Although additive manufacturing (AM), or three dimensional (3D) printing, provides significant advantages over existing manufacturing techniques, metallic parts produced by AM are susceptible to distortion, lack of fusion defects and compositional changes. Here we show that the printability, or the ability of an alloy to avoid these defects, can be examined by developing and testing appropriate theories. A theoretical scaling analysis is used to test vulnerability of various alloys to thermal distortion. A theoretical kinetic model is used to examine predisposition of different alloys to AM induced compositional changes. A well-tested numerical heat transfer and fluid flow model is used to compare susceptibilities of various alloys to lack of fusion defects. These results are tested and validated with independent experimental data. The findings presented in this paper are aimed at achieving distortion free, compositionally sound and well bonded metallic parts.
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