skip to main content

Title: Critical instability at moving keyhole tip generates porosity in laser melting

Laser powder bed fusion is a dominant metal 3D printing technology. However, porosity defects remain a challenge for fatigue-sensitive applications. Some porosity is associated with deep and narrow vapor depressions called keyholes, which occur under high-power, low–scan speed laser melting conditions. High-speed x-ray imaging enables operando observation of the detailed formation process of pores in Ti-6Al-4V caused by a critical instability at the keyhole tip. We found that the boundary of the keyhole porosity regime in power-velocity space is sharp and smooth, varying only slightly between the bare plate and powder bed. The critical keyhole instability generates acoustic waves in the melt pool that provide additional yet vital driving force for the pores near the keyhole tip to move away from the keyhole and become trapped as defects.

 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1080-1086
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The dynamic phenomenon of a melt pool during the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process is complex and sensitive to process parameters. As the energy density input exceeds a certain threshold, a huge vapor depression may form, known as the keyhole. This study focuses on understanding the keyhole behavior and related pore formation during the LPBF process through numerical analysis. For this purpose, a thermo-fluid model with discrete powder particles is developed. The powder distribution, obtained from a discrete element method (DEM), is incorporated into the computational domain to develop a 3D process physics model using flow-3d. The melt pool formation during the conduction mode and the keyhole mode of melting has been discerned and explained. The high energy density leads to the formation of a vapor column and consequently pores under the laser scan track. Further, the keyhole shape resulted from different laser powers and scan speeds is investigated. The numerical results indicated that the keyhole size increases with the increase in the laser power even with the same energy density. The keyhole becomes stable at a higher power, which may reduce the occurrence of pores during laser scanning.
  2. Abstract The metal additive manufacturing industry is actively developing instruments and strategies to enable higher productivity, optimal build quality, and controllable as-built microstructure. A beam controlling technique, laser oscillation has shown potential in all these aspects in laser welding; however, few attempts have been made to understand the underlying physics of the oscillating keyholes/melt pools which are the prerequisites for these strategies to become a useful tool for laser-based additive manufacturing processes. Here, to address this gap, we utilized a synchrotron-based X-ray operando technique to image the dynamic keyhole oscillation in Ti-6Al-4V using a miniature powder bed fusion setup. We found good agreement between the experimental observations and simulations performed with a validated Lattice Boltzmann multiphysics model. The study revealed the continuous and periodic fluctuations in the characteristic keyhole parameters that are unique to the oscillating laser beam processing and responsible for the chevron pattern formation at solidification. In particular, despite the intrinsic longer-range fluctuation, the oscillating technique displayed potential for reducing keyhole instability, mitigating porosity formation, and altering surface topology. These insights on the oscillating keyhole dynamics can be useful for the future development and application of this technique.
  3. Background Porosity and other defects resultant by additive manufacturing processes are well-known to affect mechanical properties. However, there remains limited understanding regarding how the internal defect structure influences the evolution of the local strain field, as experimental investigations have not presented direct measurements of the evolving internal strain field in the presence of defects. Objective Interrupted in-situ tensile tests in a lab-based X-ray computed tomography machine were used to investigate the evolution of the strain field around internal defects. The evolution of the internal strain field facilitated examination of the role of specific defects in the macroscopic deformation of additively manufactured tensile coupons. Methods Samples were produced in 316L stainless steel by laser powder bed fusion. An in situ loading device was utilized to subject the samples to tensile failure within a tomographic scanning environment. Digital volume correlation was utilized to directly determine local strain levels within the additively manufactured components in the vicinity of porosity defects. Results Effects of porosity on strain localization and eventual failure of the samples were evaluated. Characteristics of the porosity distribution, including presence of porosity at the surface or near-surface of components, as well as the proximity of pores to each other were foundmore »to influence the evolution of failure. Early onset of failure was found to be associated with the availability of neighboring porosity that allowed for rapid progression of the fracture path. Conclusions The direct measurements of strain field evolution in the present study established understanding regarding how internal defect structure characteristics influence the evolution of the local strain field for additively manufactured components. This high fidelity characterization and the associated phenomenological observations have bearing for supporting validation of numerical modeling frameworks for describing failure in these materials.« less
  4. Abstract

    Laser processing of thermoelectric materials provides an avenue to influence the nano‐ and micro‐structure of the material and enable additive manufacturing processes that facilitate freeform device shapes, a capability that is lacking in thermoelectric materials processing. This paper describes the multiscale structures formed in selenium‐doped bismuth telluride, an n‐type thermoelectric material, from laser‐induced rapid melting and solidification. Macroscale samples are fabricated in a layer‐by‐layer technique using laser powder bed fusion (also known as selective laser melting). Laser processing results in highly textured columnar grains oriented in the build direction, nanoscale inclusions, and a shift in the primary charge carriers. Sparse oxide inclusions and tellurium segregation shift the material to p‐type behavior with a Seebeck coefficient that peaks at 143 µV K–1at 95 °C. With an average relative density of 74%, fabricated parts have multiscale porosity and microscale cracking that likely resulted from low powder layer packing density and processing parameters near the transition threshold between conduction and keyhole mode processing. These results provide insights regarding the pathways for influencing carrier transport in thermoelectric materials via laser melting‐induced nanoscale structuring and the laser processing parameters required to achieve effective powder consolidation and hierarchical structuring in thermoelectric parts.

  5. Abstract Laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) additive manufacturing (AM) is an effective method of fabricating nickel–titanium (NiTi) shape memory alloys (SMAs) with complex geometries, unique functional properties, and tailored material compositions. However, with the increase of Ni content in NiTi powder feedstock, the ability to produce high-quality parts is notably reduced due to the emergence of macroscopic defects such as warpage, elevated edge/corner, delamination, and excessive surface roughness. This study explores the printability of a nickel-rich NiTi powder, where printability refers to the ability to fabricate macro-defect-free parts. Specifically, single track experiments were first conducted to select key processing parameter settings for cubic specimen fabrication. Machine learning classification techniques were implemented to predict the printable space. The reliability of the predicted printable space was verified by further cubic specimens fabrication, and the relationship between processing parameters and potential macro-defect modes was investigated. Results indicated that laser power was critical to the printability of high Ni content NiTi powder. In the low laser power setting (P < 100 W), the printable space was relatively wider with delamination as the main macro-defect mode. In the sub-high laser power condition (100 W ≤ P ≤ 200 W), the printable space was narrowed tomore »a low hatch spacing region with macro-defects of warpage, elevated edge/corner, and delamination happened at different scanning speeds and hatch spacing combinations. The rough surface defect emerged when further increasing the laser power (P > 200 W), leading to a further narrowed printable space.« less