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Mechanical, Thermal and Chemical Processes of Surface Improvement Parts

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Surface improvement usually involves smoothing the material used for making a product for a variety of reasons. Surface improvement may be done to reduce friction, improve the rate of wear, reduce resistance to air, for decorative purposes and as a preliminary activity before plating (Mumtaz, Hopkinson, & Erasenthiran, 2006). Surface improvement may be accomplished during the production of a component or alternatively once the component has already been produced. Surface improvement or finishing is usually done to engineering products in most cases as a final step before the component leaves the production line.

Selective Laser Melting is an additive technique used in the manufacture of products that has numerous advantages. However, one of its greatest limitations is with respect to its insufficiency in so far as surface quality is concerned. Other of its limitations regard balling, the staircase effect, poor accuracy in terms of dimension of finished products and the existence of residual stresses in products made by this method as noted by Mumtaz, Hopkinson, & Erasenthiran (2006). A number of methods can be used to enhance the surface quality of products that are manufactured through Selective Laser Melting.

The alternative methods that can be used in this respect include mechanical, thermal and chemical processes. Yet another valuable alternative in this respect is laser remelting which notably is a clean and reproducible process given that the process has made it possible to have better control of variables that impact surface finish. It is noted that laser remelting has the capacity to improve up to 90 percent of the total roughness values, averagely, of the surface produced by Selective Laser Melting (Khan and Dickens). Laser remelting may not only be applied in the modification of surfaces that have roughness values between five and eight but can also apply in improving other surface properties including corrosion resistance, wettability, microhardness, wear behavior and friction.

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