Titanium metal injection molding allows creation of complex metal parts that are lightweight and biocompatible with reduced cost in comparison with machining titanium. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) can be used to create plasma on the surface of a sample to analyze its elemental composition. Repetitive ablation on the same site has been shown to create differences from the original sample. This study investigates the potential of LIBS for selective surface sintering of injection-molded titanium metal. The temperature created throughout the LIBS process on the surface of the injection-molded titanium is high enough to fuse together the titanium particles. Using the ratio of the Ti II 282.81 nm and the C I 247.86 nm lines, the effectiveness of repetitive plasma formation to produce sintering can be monitored during the process. Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy on the ablation craters confirms sintering through the reduction in carbon from 20.29 Wt.% to 2.13 Wt.%. Scanning electron microscope images confirm sintering. A conventional LIBS system, with a fixed distance, investigated laser parameters on injection-molded and injection-sintered titanium. To prove the feasibility of using this technique on a production line, a second LIBS system, with an autofocus and 3-axis translation stage, successfully sintered a sample with a nonplanar surface.
Jull, H., Ewart, P., Künnemeyer, R., & Schaare, P. (2017). Selective surface sintering using a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy system. Journal of Spectroscopy, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1478541