AM operators are currently using SEM as a characterization tool for finished products. SEM offers high spatial resolution so the surface quality of the parts that are made using AM processes can be carefully inspected.
The use of SEM can assist in revealing possible (micro)structural surface defects which can compromise the mechanical properties and durability of the finished products.
SEM can also be beneficial in the characterization of the raw material that is used in AM processes, it does not just help in the examination of the finished product.
A wide variety of materials, mainly metals and alloys, ceramics, composites, and plastics are utilized to construct components using a CAD-operated process.
Focusing on the metal powders which are used, it can also be concluded that numerous metals are presently being employed in additive manufacturing processes. Stainless steel, iron, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, titanium, and copper-based alloys are used, but the list is continuously getting bigger.