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  1. null (Ed.)
    Solidification or hot cracks are commonly observed defects in a number of metal alloys and may lead to deterioration of additively manufactured parts quality. In this study, ultra-high-speed x-ray radiography experiments enable the observation and characterization of bundles of hot-cracks that form in monobloc AA6061 substrate. The crack bundles are related to meltpool characteristics and pore formation. Crack propagation rate is also presented for the case of a crack that initiates from a pore. Two types of relevant pore formation are also described, namely keyhole porosity and crack-remelting porosity. The results of this study are expected to facilitate the validation of theoretical and numerical models of solidification cracking. 
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  2. Abstract

    Metal three-dimensional (3D) printing includes a vast number of operation and material parameters with complex dependencies, which significantly complicates process optimization, materials development, and real-time monitoring and control. We leverage ultrahigh-speed synchrotron X-ray imaging and high-fidelity multiphysics modeling to identify simple yet universal scaling laws for keyhole stability and porosity in metal 3D printing. The laws apply broadly and remain accurate for different materials, processing conditions, and printing machines. We define a dimensionless number, the Keyhole number, to predict aspect ratio of a keyhole and the morphological transition from stable at low Keyhole number to chaotic at high Keyhole number. Furthermore, we discover inherent correlation between keyhole stability and porosity formation in metal 3D printing. By reducing the dimensions of the formulation of these challenging problems, the compact scaling laws will aid process optimization and defect elimination during metal 3D printing, and potentially lead to a quantitative predictive framework.

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  3. 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.

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  4. 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.

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