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Title: In-Situ Characterization of Pore Formation Dynamics in Pulsed Wave Laser Powder Bed Fusion
Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) is an additive manufacturing technology with the capability of printing complex metal parts directly from digital models. Between two available emission modes employed in LPBF printing systems, pulsed wave (PW) emission provides more control over the heat input compared to continuous wave (CW) emission, which is highly beneficial for printing parts with intricate features. However, parts printed with pulsed wave LPBF (PW-LPBF) commonly contain pores, which degrade their mechanical properties. In this study, we reveal pore formation mechanisms during PW-LPBF in real time by using an in-situ high-speed synchrotron x-ray imaging technique. We found that vapor depression collapse proceeds when the laser irradiation stops within one pulse, resulting in occasional pore formation during PW-LPBF. We also revealed that the melt ejection and rapid melt pool solidification during pulsed-wave laser melting resulted in cavity formation and subsequent formation of a pore pattern in the melted track. The pore formation dynamics revealed here may provide guidance on developing pore elimination approaches.
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) is a 3D printing technology that can print metal parts with complex geometries without the design constraints of traditional manufacturing routes. However, the parts printed by LPBF normally contain many more pores than those made by conventional methods, which severely deteriorates their properties. Here, by combining in-situ high-speed high-resolution synchrotron x-ray imaging experiments and multi-physics modeling, we unveil the dynamics and mechanisms of pore motion and elimination in the LPBF process. We find that the high thermocapillary force, induced by the high temperature gradient in the laser interaction region, can rapidly eliminate pores from the melt pool during the LPBF process. The thermocapillary force driven pore elimination mechanism revealed here may guide the development of 3D printing approaches to achieve pore-free 3D printing of metals.

  2. 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.
  3. Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop, apply and validate a mesh-free graph theory–based approach for rapid thermal modeling of the directed energy deposition (DED) additive manufacturing (AM) process. Design/methodology/approach In this study, the authors develop a novel mesh-free graph theory–based approach to predict the thermal history of the DED process. Subsequently, the authors validated the graph theory predicted temperature trends using experimental temperature data for DED of titanium alloy parts (Ti-6Al-4V). Temperature trends were tracked by embedding thermocouples in the substrate. The DED process was simulated using the graph theory approach, and the thermal history predictions were validated based on the data from the thermocouples. Findings The temperature trends predicted by the graph theory approach have mean absolute percentage error of approximately 11% and root mean square error of 23°C when compared to the experimental data. Moreover, the graph theory simulation was obtained within 4 min using desktop computing resources, which is less than the build time of 25 min. By comparison, a finite element–based model required 136 min to converge to similar level of error. Research limitations/implications This study uses data from fixed thermocouples when printing thin-wall DED parts. In the future, the authors will incorporate infrared thermal cameramore »data from large parts. Practical implications The DED process is particularly valuable for near-net shape manufacturing, repair and remanufacturing applications. However, DED parts are often afflicted with flaws, such as cracking and distortion. In DED, flaw formation is largely governed by the intensity and spatial distribution of heat in the part during the process, often referred to as the thermal history. Accordingly, fast and accurate thermal models to predict the thermal history are necessary to understand and preclude flaw formation. Originality/value This paper presents a new mesh-free computational thermal modeling approach based on graph theory (network science) and applies it to DED. The approach eschews the tedious and computationally demanding meshing aspect of finite element modeling and allows rapid simulation of the thermal history in additive manufacturing. Although the graph theory has been applied to thermal modeling of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), there are distinct phenomenological differences between DED and LPBF that necessitate substantial modifications to the graph theory approach.« less
  4. Despite its potential to overcome the design and processing barriers of traditional subtractive and formative manufacturing techniques, the use of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) metal additive manufacturing is currently limited due to its tendency to create flaws. A multitude of LPBF-related flaws, such as part-level deformation, cracking, and porosity are linked to the spatiotemporal temperature distribution in the part during the process. The temperature distribution, also called the thermal history, is a function of several factors encompassing material properties, part geometry and orientation, processing parameters, placement of supports, among others. These broad range of factors are difficult and expensive to optimize through empirical testing alone. Consequently, fast and accurate models to predict the thermal history are valuable for mitigating flaw formation in LPBF-processed parts. In our prior works, we developed a graph theory-based approach for predicting the temperature distribution in LPBF parts. This mesh-free approach was compared with both non-proprietary and commercial finite element packages, and the thermal history predictions were experimentally validated with in- situ infrared thermal imaging data. It was found that the graph theory-derived thermal history predictions converged within 30–50% of the time of non-proprietary finite element analysis for a similar level of prediction error. However,more »these prior efforts were based on small prismatic and cylinder-shaped LPBF parts. In this paper, our objective was to scale the graph theory approach to predict the thermal history of large volume, complex geometry LPBF parts. To realize this objective, we developed and applied three computational strategies to predict the thermal history of a stainless steel (SAE 316L) impeller having outside diameter 155 mm and vertical height 35 mm (700 layers). The impeller was processed on a Renishaw AM250 LPBF system and required 16 h to complete. During the process, in-situ layer-by-layer steady state surface temperature measurements for the impeller were obtained using a calibrated longwave infrared thermal camera. As an example of the outcome, on implementing one of the three strategies reported in this work, which did not reduce or simplify the part geometry, the thermal history of the impeller was predicted with approximate mean absolute error of 6% (standard deviation 0.8%) and root mean square error 23 K (standard deviation 3.7 K). Moreover, the thermal history was simulated within 40 min using desktop computing, which is considerably less than the 16 h required to build the impeller part. Furthermore, the graph theory thermal history predictions were compared with a proprietary LPBF thermal modeling software and non-proprietary finite element simulation. For a similar level of root mean square error (28 K), the graph theory approach converged in 17 min, vs. 4.5 h for non-proprietary finite element analysis.« less
  5. Abstract

    The process instabilities intrinsic to the localized laser-powder bed interaction cause the formation of various defects in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing process. Particularly, the stochastic formation of large spatters leads to unpredictable defects in the as-printed parts. Here we report the elimination of large spatters through controlling laser-powder bed interaction instabilities by using nanoparticles. The elimination of large spatters results in 3D printing of defect lean sample with good consistency and enhanced properties. We reveal that two mechanisms work synergistically to eliminate all types of large spatters: (1) nanoparticle-enabled control of molten pool fluctuation eliminates the liquid breakup induced large spatters; (2) nanoparticle-enabled control of the liquid droplet coalescence eliminates liquid droplet colliding induced large spatters. The nanoparticle-enabled simultaneous stabilization of molten pool fluctuation and prevention of liquid droplet coalescence discovered here provide a potential way to achieve defect lean metal additive manufacturing.