Additive manufacturing (AM) of metals offers new possibilities for the production of complex structures. Up to now, investigations on the mechanical response of AM metallic parts show a significant spread and unexpected failures cannot be excluded. In this work, we focus on the detection of fatigue cracks through the integration of a Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) system in Ti-6Al-4V specimens. The working principle of the presented system is based on the integration of small capillaries that are capable of detecting fatigue cracks. Four-point bending fatigue tests have been performed on Ti-6Al-4V specimens with integrated capillaries and compared to the reference specimens without capillaries. Specimens were produced by conventional subtractive manufacturing of wrought material and AM, using the laser based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) process. In this study, we investigated the effect of the presence of the capillary on the fatigue strength and fatigue initiation location. Finite element (FEM) simulations were performed to validate the experimental test results. The presence of a drilled capillary in the specimens did not alter the fatigue initiation location. However, the laser based DED production process introduced roughness on the capillary surface that altered the fatigue initiation location to the capillary surface. The fatigue performance was greatly reduced when considering a printed capillary. It is concluded that the surface quality of the integrated capillary is of primary importance in order not to influence the structural integrity of the component to be monitored.
Original languageEnglish
Article number993
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • Structural Health Monitoring
  • Fatigue
  • Ti-6Al-4V
  • Additive Manufacturing
  • 3D Printing
  • Laser Metal Deposition
  • Directed Energy Deposition
  • eSHM


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