The metallurgy of high-silicon steel (6.9%wt.Si) processed using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) is presented for the first time in this study. High-silicon steel has great potential as a soft magnetic alloy, but its employment has been limited due to its poor workability. The effect of SLM-processing on the metallurgy of the alloy is investigated in this work using microscopy, X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD). XRD analysis suggests that the SLM high-silicon steel is a single ferritic phase (solid solution), with no sign of phase ordering. This is expected to have beneficial effects on the material properties, since ordering has been shown to make silicon steels more brittle and electrically conductive. For near-fully dense samples, columnar grains with a high aspect ratio and oriented along the build direction are found. Most importantly, a <001> fibre-texture along the build direction can be changed into a cube-texture when the qualitative shape of the melt-pool is altered (from shallow to deep) by increasing the energy input of the scanning laser. This feature could potentially open the path to the manufacture of three-dimensional grain-oriented high-silicon steels for electromechanical applications.

This article originally appeared in Acta Materialia110, 2016, Pages 207–216.