Aiming to decouple the inherent relationship between mass transfer and heat transfer in traditional arc-based directed energy deposition, a novel heterogeneous multi-wire indirect arc directed energy deposition (DED) has been developed for in-situ synthesis of Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy components. Multi-wires (Al-Cu and Al-Mg) with a bypassing Zn wire have been used to replace the traditional homogeneous twin-wires. The process, microstructure and mechanical properties of the deposited Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy components obtained by multi-wire indirect arc DED were investigated. The results indicate that the wire feeding speed, current and angle between the two wires have a significant influence on the multi-wire indirect arc DED process. When the current was 200 A, the different wire feeding speeds could be used for both wires and the angle between them was 90°. The resulting indirect arc presented a ‘heart’ shape and allowed to obtain an Al-5.7Zn-3.4Mg-1.6Cu (wt%) alloy with a high deposition rate of 5.1 kg/h. The Al-5.7Zn-3.4Mg-1.6Cu alloy is mainly composed of α-Al, S (Al2CuMg), η (Mg (Al, Zn, Cu)2) and η′ phases. The composition and phases are in accordance with the 7xxx series aluminum alloys. The microstructure is dominated by columnar and equiaxed grains, and it has obvious periodic distribution along the building direction, which is related to the process thermal cycle. Fine second phases η′ are observed to precipitate during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, the average hardness, ultimate tensile strength and elongation of the fabricated material are 98.6 HV, 243.9 MPa and 5.9%, respectively. These mechanical properties are higher than those of as-cast 7050 aluminum alloy, thus showing the potential of this new process variant to fabricate high strength Al alloys in the as-deposited state. The fracture morphology exhibit features mainly associated to a ductile-like fracture, accompanied by some transgranular and partial cleavage fracture characteristics. This novel multi-wire indirect arc DED provides a new choice for arc-based directed energy deposition of Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloys and shows great potential for the in-situ synthesis of other high-performance alloys.
- Al-Zn-Mg-Cu alloy
- Indirect arc
- Mechanical properties
- Wire-arc directed energy deposition