Additive manufacturing of three-dimensional metal-glass functionally gradient material components by laser powder bed fusion with in situ powder mixing

Xiaoji Zhang, Yuan hui Chueh, Chao Wei, Zhe Sun, Jiwang Yan, Lin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Existing commercial three-dimensional (3D) printing systems based on powder bed fusion approach can normally only print a single material in each component. In this paper, functionally gradient materials (FGM) with composition variation from a copper alloy to a soda-lime glass were manufactured using a proprietary nozzle-based multi-material selective laser melting (MMSLM) system. An in situ powder mixing system was designed to mix both metal and glass powders at selective ratios and the mixed powders were dispensed with an ultrasonic vibration powder feeding system with multiple nozzles. From the cross section analysis of the gradient structures, glass proportion increased gradually from the metallic matrix composite (MMC), transition phase to ceramic matrix composite (CMC). The pure copper alloy joined the MMC part and the pure glass phase penetrated into the CMC part during laser processing, which anchored the glass phase, as the main mechanism of combining pure metal and pure glass by FGM in 3D printed parts. From results of indentation, tensile and shear tests on the gradient material samples, it showed that mechanical properties of the FGM gradually changed from ductility (metal side) to brittle (glass side). The weakest part of the FGM structure occurred at the interface between transition phase and the CMC, which was also the interface between the ductile and brittle phases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101113
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May



  • Copper-glass
  • Functionally gradient materials
  • Horizontal gradient structure
  • Multi-material selective laser melting
  • Powder bed fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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