Cermets are composite materials consisting of a ceramic reinforcement and a metal matrix. Conventional tungsten carbide cermet parts containing a cobalt matrix phase are mainly produced by powder sintering. Laser Powder Bed Fusion (L-PBF) is an additive manufacturing technology widely applied for direct fabrication of metal functional parts with complex geometry. The present paper deals with the feasibility study of additive manufacturing of cermet parts by L-PBF using WC-17Co powder. The results showed that parametric optimisation of the L-PBF process allowed the production of solid WC-17Co part. Structural analysis revealed the presence of significant porosity (1.41%) and small-scale cracks in the as-built samples. Post-processing, such as HIP (Hot Isostatic Pressure) significantly improved the structure of manufactured parts. The porosity after HIP was very low (0.01%) and phase analysis revealed that the samples after HIP did not contain the fragile W2C phase. Abrasive wear tests showed that the wear resistance performance of additively manufactured parts was comparable to a reference produced by powder sintering. High values of hardness (around 1100 HV30) were observed for the as-built and HIP samples. The study successfully demonstrated the possibility of manufacturing wear-resistant cermet parts by L-PBF.

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