Additively Manufactured 316L SS and Its High Temperature Steam Oxidation Behavior as a Function of Varied Build Parameters

Schier, Scott
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Additive manufacturing (AM) has emerged as a promising solution for the high-throughput fabrication of unique and complex geometries required in the construction of nuclear reactors. However, the inherent complexities of the AM process can result in unexpected material properties and performance, necessitating further research. In this study, we investigate the effects of various build conditions on defect formation, while implementing in-situ part identification throughout the entire process. Our focus is on characterizing oxidized AM 316LSS samples subjected to high-temperature steam environments (<65% pH2O) at 800°C using both surface and cross-sectional characterization techniques like Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Raman. SEM provides detailed microstructural characterization of surface and cross-sectional features, including oxide films and pitting defects. Raman spectroscopy analysis is employed to determine the chemical composition of the polished/passivated surface oxides that form on the samples. By correlating materials characterization and testing with print parameters, print orientation, sample history, and thermal conditions, we aim to enhance our understanding of the relevant performance properties for high temperature steam exposed applications. The continuous advancement of AM technology has revolutionized the manufacturing industry by enabling rapid innovation and unparalleled design flexibility for complex parts. To meet the stringent material qualifications for structural components, AM parts must demonstrate resilience against off-normal nuclear reactor events involving steam exposure, both in light water reactors and advanced designs. The findings of this study highlight the potential of AM in the construction of reliable and safe nuclear reactors, leveraging in-situ part qualification to meet the increasing demand for clean energy. These insights serve as a crucial foundation for the future integration of advanced manufacturing methods into nuclear energy, contributing to its sustainable development.

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Additive manufacturing, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Raman, High-temperature steam environments
Mechanical Engineering