Functionally graded Ni-Ti microstructures synthesised in process by direct laser metal deposition

The fabrication of biomedical devices using Ni-Ti compositions is limited to conventional techniques and the use of near equiatomic pre-alloyed Ni and Ti powders. In this study, functionally graded walls and cylinder built by concurrent feeding of Ni powder and commercially pure (CP) Ti wire using direct laser metal deposition technique are presented. The built structures consist of CP Ti wire-deposited layers and Ni-Ti layers of varying Ni composition. The microstructures of the built Ni-Ti structures including phase identification, phase compositions and area fractions of the phases present at various processing parameters were determined using a combination of scanning electron microscopy/ energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffractometry and image processing software. Vickers microhardness test was conducted on the deposited structures. It was found that the Ni-Ti layers comprise of NiTi and NiTi2 phases. The area fraction of the NiTi phase increases, whereas NiTi2 decreases with increasing the Ni powder feed rate. Ni-Ti layers with higher area fractions of NiTi2 phase are found to be harder with a maximum of 513 HV0.3 found in this study. The micro-hardness of Ni-Ti layers is, by at least a factor of 1.5, higher than the CP Ti wire laser-deposited layers.