The Selective Laser Melting (SLM) process produces components using high melting point metal powders. This gives the ability to produce high-performance components at full density in the mm-µm size range, and opens up many diverse application areas particularly the production of hierarchical structures. The use of SLM in the manufacture of hierarchical structures enables the realization of components with hitherto unrivalled complexity.
This paper describes the method of representation of the complex geometries in the virtual environment, the process parameters for their successful production and some of the mechanical properties of the final structures.
The results show typical lattice strand diameters of between 100 and 250 µm can be produced with relative densities in the range of 5-10% by volume and mechanical properties comparable or exceeding the state of the art.
These structures have applications in the manufacture of heat exchangers, orthopaedic implants and ultra light aerospace components and therefore perspectives on component design, commercial viability and future production techniques for these types of component are given.