Influence of process and heat input on the microstructure and mechanical properties in wire arc additive manufacturing of hot work tool steels

Florian Pixner, Ricardo Buzolin, Fernando Warchomicka, Mária Dománková, Mária Čaplovičová, Florian Riedlsperger, Sebastian Fritsche, Marta Orłowska, Josef Domitner, Michael Lasnik, Norbert Enzinger 

In: Materials Science and Engineering: A, Volume 888, 17 November 2023, 145799


The present study demonstrates the suitability of wire arc additive manufacturing (AM) for hot work tool steel processing. Different arc welding techniques and energy inputs were applied and systematically compared to determine the deposition characteristics, microstructure and mechanical properties. All AM deposits show a sound visual appearance and full density without macroscopic imperfections, i.e. cracking. By adhering to a pre-defined interpass strategy, the cold metal transfer process can be used to achieve higher weld beads with lower dilution and faster build-up rates than the metal active gas process. The microstructure of the AM parts is comparable for all process configurations and consists of an α/α′-matrix with a finely dispersed vermicular and polygonal δ-ferrite network; no notable amount of retained austenite could be measured, but it could be observed by transmission electron microscopy embedded within the laths. Intensive precipitation of multiple molybdenum-based precipitates is observed along the interface matrix to δ-ferrite. In contrast, iron-based precipitates are predominantly found inside and at the boundaries of the laths of the matrix. Similarities are also evident in the mechanical properties, resulting in an average hardness of 380–390 HV1 and absorbed impact energy of 10–12 J at room temperature. High yield strength values of 1000–1100 MPa and ultimate tensile strength of 1200–1400 MPa were obtained. No significant differences in the measured mechanical properties could be noted regarding the specimen orientation, indicating the isotropy of the properties.