XRF Analysis on 3D Printed Titanium

The use of additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing continues to grow. With the flexibility AM offers, this technology is transforming how products are manufactured. It enables creativity in design and choice of materials such as polymers or metals.

AM has expanded into high-tech industries with higher demands on quality and standards. This has led to the need for more materials testing throughout the supply chain. Composition can play a critical role in the performance of a 3D printed product. It’s good to know that analytical testing can help verify elemental composition.

Composition Analysis Using XRF

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a technique used to determine elemental composition. A sample of a 3D printed titanium alloy was analyzed using XRF for the detection of major, minor and trace elements down to the low ppm range. While EDX analysis is often used to obtain a fast compositional analysis of materials, the dependence of analysis depth on e-beam energy and the shallow sampling depth itself mean that the results are generally qualitative or semiquantitative. XRF uses x-rays to probe deeper which allows for more accurate quantitative analysis of the bulk material as well as significantly better sensitivity for trace elements.

3D printed metal turbine

While XRF probes deeply into the material, the surface layers were removed to expose the bulk metal in order to obtain the best accuracy. Figure 1 shows the original sample in its ‘as received’ condition, then after sanding and polishing with SiC grit paper to produce a smooth, flat surface for analysis.

3D printed metal sample - as is

As Received

Resurfaced for Analysis

XRF scientist

Elemental scans of the sample show strong Ti, V and Al signals along with lower levels of Fe, Ni and Si.  The table displays the elemental composition which is consistent with the titanium alloy Ti6Al4V.

3D printed metal elemental composition

At Eurofins EAG, our technical experts have many years of experience with composition and contamination analysis on a wide range of materials. Contact us today to learn how we can help you on your next 3D printed project.

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