Numerical Investigation of the Local Scour for Tripod Pile Foundation.

Numerical Investigation of the Local Scour for Tripod Pile Foundation.

Hassan, Waqed H.; Fadhe, Zahraa Mohammad; Thiab, Rifqa F.; Mahdi, Karrar


This work investigates numerically a local scour moves in irregular waves around tripods. It is constructed and proven to use the numerical model of the seabed-tripodfluid with an RNG k turbulence model. The present numerical model then examines the flow velocity distribution and scour characteristics. After that, the suggested computational model Flow-3D is a useful tool for analyzing and forecasting the maximum scour development and the flow field in random waves around tripods. The scour values affecting the foundations of the tripod must be studied and calculated, as this phenomenon directly and negatively affects the structure of the structure and its design life. The lower diagonal braces and the main column act as blockages, increasing the flow accelerations underneath them. This increases the number of particles that are moved, which in turn creates strong scouring in the area. The numerical model has a good agreement with the experimental model, with a maximum percentage of error of 10% between the experimental and numerical models. In addition, Based on dimensional analysis parameters, an empirical equation has been devised to forecast scour depth with flow depth, median size ratio, Keulegan-Carpenter (Kc), Froud number flow, and wave velocity that the results obtained in this research at various flow velocities and flow depths demonstrated that the maximum scour depth rate depended on wave height with rising velocities and decreasing particle sizes (d50) and the scour depth attains its steady-current value for Vw < 0.75. As the Froude number rises, the maximum scour depth will be large.


BUILDING foundationsSURFACE waves (Seismic waves)FLOW velocityRANDOM fieldsDIMENSIONAL analysisFROUDE numberOCEAN waves



Mathematical Modelling of Engineering Problems, 2024, Vol 11, Issue 4, p903

ISSN 2369-0739

저자 소속기관

  • 1 Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Warith Al-Anbiyaa, Kerbala 56001, Iraq
  • 2 Civil Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Kerbala, Kerbala 56001, Iraq
  • 3 Department of Radiological Techniques, College of Health and Medical Techniques, Al-Zahraa University for Women, Karbala 56100, Iraq
  • 4 Soil Physics and Land Management Group, Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen 6708 PB, Netherlands
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Schematic diagram of HP-LPBF melting process.

Modeling and numerical studies of high-precision laser powder bed fusion

Yi Wei ;Genyu Chen;Nengru Tao;Wei Zhou

In order to comprehensively reveal the evolutionary dynamics of the molten pool and the state of motion of the fluid during the high-precision laser powder bed fusion (HP-LPBF) process, this study aims to deeply investigate the specific manifestations of the multiphase flow, solidification phenomena, and heat transfer during the process by means of numerical simulation methods. Numerical simulation models of SS316L single-layer HP-LPBF formation with single and double tracks were constructed using the discrete element method and the computational fluid dynamics method. The effects of various factors such as Marangoni convection, surface tension, vapor recoil, gravity, thermal convection, thermal radiation, and evaporative heat dissipation on the heat and mass transfer in the molten pool have been paid attention to during the model construction process. The results show that the molten pool exhibits a “comet” shape, in which the temperature gradient at the front end of the pool is significantly larger than that at the tail end, with the highest temperature gradient up to 1.69 × 108 K/s. It is also found that the depth of the second track is larger than that of the first one, and the process parameter window has been determined preliminarily. In addition, the application of HP-LPBF technology helps to reduce the surface roughness and minimize the forming size.


Heat transferNonequilibrium thermodynamicsSolidification processComputer simulationDiscrete element methodLasersMass transferFluid mechanicsComputational fluid dynamicsMultiphase flows


Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) has become a research hotspot in the field of additive manufacturing of metals due to its advantages of high-dimensional accuracy, good surface quality, high density, and high material utilization.1,2 With the rapid development of electronics, medical, automotive, biotechnology, energy, communication, and optics, the demand for microfabrication technology is increasing day by day.3 High-precision laser powder bed fusion (HP-LPBF) is one of the key manufacturing technologies for tiny parts in the fields of electronics, medical, automotive, biotechnology, energy, communication, and optics because of its process characteristics such as small focal spot diameter, small powder particle size, and thin powder layup layer thickness.4–13 Compared with LPBF, HP-LPBF has the significant advantages of smaller focal spot diameter, smaller powder particle size, and thinner layer thickness. These advantages make HP-LPBF perform better in producing micro-fine parts, high surface quality, and parts with excellent mechanical properties.

HP-LPBF is in the exploratory stage, and researchers have already done some exploratory studies on the focal spot diameter, the amount of defocusing, and the powder particle size. In order to explore the influence of changing the laser focal spot diameter on the LPBF process characteristics of the law, Wildman et al.14 studied five groups of different focal spot diameter LPBF forming 316L stainless steel (SS316L) processing effect, the smallest focal spot diameter of 26 μm, and the results confirm that changing the focal spot diameter can be achieved to achieve the energy control, so as to control the quality of forming. Subsequently, Mclouth et al.15 proposed the laser out-of-focus amount (focal spot diameter) parameter, which characterizes the distance between the forming plane and the laser focal plane. The laser energy density was controlled by varying the defocusing amount while keeping the laser parameters constant. Sample preparation at different focal positions was investigated, and their microstructures were characterized. The results show that the samples at the focal plane have finer microstructure than those away from the focal plane, which is the effect of higher power density and smaller focal spot diameter. In order to explore the influence of changing the powder particle size on the characteristics of the LPBF process, Qian et al.16 carried out single-track scanning simulations on powder beds with average powder particle sizes of 70 and 40 μm, respectively, and the results showed that the melt tracks sizes were close to each other under the same process parameters for the two particle-size distributions and that the molten pool of powder beds with small particles was more elongated and the edges of the melt tracks were relatively flat. In order to explore the superiority of HP-LPBF technology, Xu et al.17 conducted a comparative analysis of HP-LPBF and conventional LPBF of SS316L. The results showed that the average surface roughness of the top surface after forming by HP-LPBF could reach 3.40 μm. Once again, it was verified that HP-LPBF had higher forming quality than conventional LPBF. On this basis, Wei et al.6 comparatively analyzed the effects of different laser focal spot diameters on different powder particle sizes formed by LPBF. The results showed that the smaller the laser focal spot diameter, the fewer the defects on the top and side surfaces. The above research results confirm that reducing the laser focal spot diameter can obtain higher energy density and thus better forming quality.

LPBF involves a variety of complex systems and mechanisms, and the final quality of the part is influenced by a large number of process parameters.18–24 Some research results have shown that there are more than 50 factors affecting the quality of the specimen. The influencing factors are mainly categorized into three main groups: (1) laser parameters, (2) powder parameters, and (3) equipment parameters, which interact with each other to determine the final specimen quality. With the continuous development of technologies such as computational materials science and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the method of studying the influence of different factors on the forming quality of LPBF forming process has been shifted from time-consuming and laborious experimental characterization to the use of numerical simulation methods. As a result, more and more researchers are adopting this approach for their studies. Currently, numerical simulation studies on LPBF are mainly focused on the exploration of molten pool, temperature distribution, and residual stresses.

  1. Finite element simulation based on continuum mechanics and free surface fluid flow modeling based on fluid dynamics are two common approaches to study the behavior of LPBF molten pool.25–28 Finite element simulation focuses on the temperature and thermal stress fields, treats the powder bed as a continuum, and determines the molten pool size by plotting the elemental temperature above the melting point. In contrast, fluid dynamics modeling can simulate the 2D or 3D morphology of the metal powder pile and obtain the powder size and distribution by certain algorithms.29 The flow in the molten pool is mainly affected by recoil pressure and the Marangoni effect. By simulating the molten pool formation, it is possible to predict defects, molten pool shape, and flow characteristics, as well as the effect of process parameters on the molten pool geometry.30–34 In addition, other researchers have been conducted to optimize the laser processing parameters through different simulation methods and experimental data.35–46 Crystal growth during solidification is studied to further understand the effect of laser parameters on dendritic morphology and solute segregation.47–54 A multi-scale system has been developed to describe the fused deposition process during 3D printing, which is combined with the conductive heat transfer model and the dendritic solidification model.55,56
  2. Relevant scholars have adopted various different methods for simulation, such as sequential coupling theory,57 Lagrangian and Eulerian thermal models,58 birth–death element method,25 and finite element method,59 in order to reveal the physical phenomena of the laser melting process and optimize the process parameters. Luo et al.60 compared the LPBF temperature field and molten pool under double ellipsoidal and Gaussian heat sources by ANSYS APDL and found that the diffusion of the laser energy in the powder significantly affects the molten pool size and the temperature field.
  3. The thermal stresses obtained from the simulation correlate with the actual cracks,61 and local preheating can effectively reduce the residual stresses.62 A three-dimensional thermodynamic finite element model investigated the temperature and stress variations during laser-assisted fabrication and found that powder-to-solid conversion increases the temperature gradient, stresses, and warpage.63 Other scholars have predicted residual stresses and part deflection for LPBF specimens and investigated the effects of deposition pattern, heat, laser power, and scanning strategy on residual stresses, noting that high-temperature gradients lead to higher residual stresses.64–67 

In short, the process of LPBF forming SS316L is extremely complex and usually involves drastic multi-scale physicochemical changes that will only take place on a very small scale. Existing literature employs DEM-based mesoscopic-scale numerical simulations to investigate the effects of process parameters on the molten pool dynamics of LPBF-formed SS316L. However, a few studies have been reported on the key mechanisms of heating and solidification, spatter, and convective behavior of the molten pool of HP-LPBF-formed SS316L with small laser focal spot diameters. In this paper, the geometrical properties of coarse and fine powder particles under three-dimensional conditions were first calculated using DEM. Then, numerical simulation models for single-track and double-track cases in the single-layer HP-LPBF forming SS316L process were developed at mesoscopic scale using the CFD method. The flow genesis of the melt in the single-track and double-track molten pools is discussed, and their 3D morphology and dimensional characteristics are discussed. In addition, the effects of laser process parameters, powder particle size, and laser focal spot diameter on the temperature field, characterization information, and defects in the molten pool are discussed.


A. 3D powder bed modeling

HP-LPBF is an advanced processing technique for preparing target parts layer by layer stacking, the process of which involves repetitive spreading and melting of powders. In this process, both the powder spreading and the morphology of the powder bed are closely related to the results of the subsequent melting process, while the melted surface also affects the uniform distribution of the next layer of powder. For this reason, this chapter focuses on the modeling of the physical action during the powder spreading process and the theory of DEM to establish the numerical model of the powder bed, so as to lay a solid foundation for the accuracy of volume of fluid (VOF) and CFD.

1. DEM

DEM is a numerical technique for calculating the interaction of a large number of particles, which calculates the forces and motions of the spheres by considering each powder sphere as an independent unit. The motion of the powder particles follows the laws of classical Newtonian mechanics, including translational and rotational,38,68–70 which are expressed as follows:����¨=���+∑��ij,



where �� is the mass of unit particle i in kg, ��¨ is the advective acceleration in m/s2, And g is the gravitational acceleration in m/s2. �ij is the force in contact with the neighboring particle � in N. �� is the rotational inertia of the unit particle � in kg · m2. ��¨ is the unit particle � angular acceleration in rad/s2. �ij is the vector pointing from unit particle � to the contact point of neighboring particle �⁠.

Equations (1) and (2) can be used to calculate the velocity and angular velocity variations of powder particles to determine their positions and velocities. A three-dimensional powder bed model of SS316L was developed using DEM. The powder particles are assumed to be perfect spheres, and the substrate and walls are assumed to be rigid. To describe the contact between the powder particles and between the particles and the substrate, a non-slip Hertz–Mindlin nonlinear spring-damping model71 was used with the following expression:�hz=��������+��[(�����ij−�eff����)−(�����+�eff����)],


where �hz is the force calculated using the Hertzian in M. �� and �� are the radius of unit particles � and � in m, respectively. �� is the overlap size of the two powder particles in m. ��⁠, �� are the elastic constants in the normal and tangential directions, respectively. �ij is the unit vector connecting the centerlines of the two powder particles. �eff is the effective mass of the two powder particles in kg. �� and �� are the viscoelastic damping constants in the normal and tangential directions, respectively. �� and �� are the components of the relative velocities of the two powder particles. ��� is the displacement vector between two spherical particles. The schematic diagram of overlapping powder particles is shown in Fig. 1.

FIG. 1.


Schematic diagram of overlapping powder particles.

Because the particle size of the powder used for HP-LPBF is much smaller than 100 μm, the effect of van der Waals forces must be considered. Therefore, the cohesive force �jkr of the Hertz–Mindlin model was used instead of van der Waals forces,72 with the following expression:�jkr=−4��0�*�1.5+4�*3�*�3,




where �* is the equivalent Young’s modulus in GPa; �* is the equivalent particle radius in m; �0 is the surface energy of the powder particles in J/m2; α is the contact radius in m; �� and �� are the Young’s modulus of the unit particles � and �⁠, respectively, in GPa; and �� and �� are the Poisson’s ratio of the unit particles � and �⁠, respectively.

2. Model building

Figure 2 shows a 3D powder bed model generated using DEM with a coarse powder geometry of 1000 × 400 × 30 μm3. The powder layer thickness is 30 μm, and the powder bed porosity is 40%. The average particle size of this spherical powder is 31.7 μm and is normally distributed in the range of 15–53 μm. The geometry of the fine powder was 1000 × 400 × 20 μm3, with a layer thickness of 20 μm, and the powder bed porosity of 40%. The average particle size of this spherical powder is 11.5 μm and is normally distributed in the range of 5–25 μm. After the 3D powder bed model is generated, it needs to be imported into the CFD simulation software for calculation, and the imported geometric model is shown in Fig. 3. This geometric model is mainly composed of three parts: protective gas, powder bed, and substrate. Under the premise of ensuring the accuracy of the calculation, the mesh size is set to 3 μm, and the total number of coarse powder meshes is 1 704 940. The total number of fine powder meshes is 3 982 250.

FIG. 2.


Three-dimensional powder bed model: (a) coarse powder, (b) fine powder.

FIG. 3.


Geometric modeling of the powder bed computational domain: (a) coarse powder, (b) fine powder.

B. Modeling of fluid mechanics simulation

In order to solve the flow, melting, and solidification problems involved in HP-LPBF molten pool, the study must follow the three governing equations of conservation of mass, conservation of energy, and conservation of momentum.73 The VOF method, which is the most widely used in fluid dynamics, is used to solve the molten pool dynamics model.

1. VOF

VOF is a method for tracking the free interface between the gas and liquid phases on the molten pool surface. The core idea of the method is to define a volume fraction function F within each grid, indicating the proportion of the grid space occupied by the material, 0 ≤ F ≤ 1 in Fig. 4. Specifically, when F = 0, the grid is empty and belongs to the gas-phase region; when F = 1, the grid is completely filled with material and belongs to the liquid-phase region; and when 0 < F < 1, the grid contains free surfaces and belongs to the mixed region. The direction normal to the free surface is the direction of the fastest change in the volume fraction F (the direction of the gradient of the volume fraction), and the direction of the gradient of the volume fraction can be calculated from the values of the volume fractions in the neighboring grids.74 The equations controlling the VOF are expressed as follows:𝛻����+�⋅(��→)=0,


where t is the time in s and �→ is the liquid velocity in m/s.

FIG. 4.


Schematic diagram of VOF.

The material parameters of the mixing zone are altered due to the inclusion of both the gas and liquid phases. Therefore, in order to represent the density of the mixing zone, the average density �¯ is used, which is expressed as follows:72�¯=(1−�1)�gas+�1�metal,


where �1 is the proportion of liquid phase, �gas is the density of protective gas in kg/m3, and �metal is the density of metal in kg/m3.

2. Control equations and boundary conditions

Figure 5 is a schematic diagram of the HP-LPBF melting process. First, the laser light strikes a localized area of the material and rapidly heats up the area. Next, the energy absorbed in the region is diffused through a variety of pathways (heat conduction, heat convection, and surface radiation), and this process triggers complex phase transition phenomena (melting, evaporation, and solidification). In metals undergoing melting, the driving forces include surface tension and the Marangoni effect, recoil due to evaporation, and buoyancy due to gravity and uneven density. The above physical phenomena interact with each other and do not occur independently.

FIG. 5.


Schematic diagram of HP-LPBF melting process.

  1. Laser heat sourceThe Gaussian surface heat source model is used as the laser heat source model with the following expression:�=2�0����2exp(−2�12��2),(9)where � is the heat flow density in W/m2, �0 is the absorption rate of SS316L, �� is the radius of the laser focal spot in m, and �1 is the radial distance from the center of the laser focal spot in m. The laser focal spot can be used for a wide range of applications.
  2. Energy absorptionThe formula for calculating the laser absorption �0 of SS316L is as follows:�0=0.365(�0[1+�0(�−20)]/�)0.5,(10)where �0 is the direct current resistivity of SS316L at 20 °C in Ω m, �0 is the resistance temperature coefficient in ppm/°C, � is the temperature in °C, and � is the laser wavelength in m.
  3. Heat transferThe basic principle of heat transfer is conservation of energy, which is expressed as follows:𝛻𝛻𝛻�(��)��+�·(��→�)=�·(�0����)+��,(11)where � is the density of liquid phase SS316L in kg/m3, �� is the specific heat capacity of SS316L in J/(kg K), 𝛻� is the gradient operator, t is the time in s, T is the temperature in K, 𝛻�� is the temperature gradient, �→ is the velocity vector, �0 is the coefficient of thermal conduction of SS316L in W/(m K), and  �� is the thermal energy dissipation term in the molten pool.
  4. Molten pool flowThe following three conditions need to be satisfied for the molten pool to flow:
    • Conservation of mass with the following expression:𝛻�·(��→)=0.(12)
    • Conservation of momentum (Navier–Stokes equation) with the following expression:𝛻𝛻𝛻𝛻���→��+�(�→·�)�→=�·[−pI+�(��→+(��→)�)]+�,(13)where � is the pressure in Pa exerted on the liquid phase SS316L microelement, � is the unit matrix, � is the fluid viscosity in N s/m2, and � is the volumetric force (gravity, atmospheric pressure, surface tension, vapor recoil, and the Marangoni effect).
    • Conservation of energy, see Eq. (11)
  5. Surface tension and the Marangoni effectThe effect of temperature on the surface tension coefficient is considered and set as a linear relationship with the following expression:�=�0−��dT(�−��),(14)where � is the surface tension of the molten pool at temperature T in N/m, �� is the melting temperature of SS316L in K, �0 is the surface tension of the molten pool at temperature �� in Pa, and σdσ/ dT is the surface tension temperature coefficient in N/(m K).In general, surface tension decreases with increasing temperature. A temperature gradient causes a gradient in surface tension that drives the liquid to flow, known as the Marangoni effect.
  6. Metal vapor recoilAt higher input energy densities, the maximum temperature of the molten pool surface reaches the evaporation temperature of the material, and a gasification recoil pressure occurs vertically downward toward the molten pool surface, which will be the dominant driving force for the molten pool flow.75 The expression is as follows:��=0.54�� exp ���−���0���,(15)where �� is the gasification recoil pressure in Pa, �� is the ambient pressure in kPa, �� is the latent heat of evaporation in J/kg, �0 is the gas constant in J/(mol K), T is the surface temperature of the molten pool in K, and Te is the evaporation temperature in K.
  7. Solid–liquid–gas phase transitionWhen the laser hits the powder layer, the powder goes through three stages: heating, melting, and solidification. During the solidification phase, mutual transformations between solid, liquid, and gaseous states occur. At this point, the latent heat of phase transition absorbed or released during the phase transition needs to be considered.68 The phase transition is represented based on the relationship between energy and temperature with the following expression:�=�����,(�<��),�(��)+�−����−����,(��<�<��)�(��)+(�−��)����,(��<�),,(16)where �� and �� are solid and liquid phase density, respectively, of SS316L in kg/m3. �� and �� unit volume of solid and liquid phase-specific heat capacity, respectively, of SS316L in J/(kg K). �� and ��⁠, respectively, are the solidification temperature and melting temperature of SS316L in K. �� is the latent heat of the phase transition of SS316L melting in J/kg.

3. Assumptions

The CFD model was computed using the commercial software package FLOW-3D.76 In order to simplify the calculation and solution process while ensuring the accuracy of the results, the model makes the following assumptions:

  1. It is assumed that the effects of thermal stress and material solid-phase thermal expansion on the calculation results are negligible.
  2. The molten pool flow is assumed to be a Newtonian incompressible laminar flow, while the effects of liquid thermal expansion and density on the results are neglected.
  3. It is assumed that the surface tension can be simplified to an equivalent pressure acting on the free surface of the molten pool, and the effect of chemical composition on the results is negligible.
  4. Neglecting the effect of the gas flow field on the molten pool.
  5. The mass loss due to evaporation of the liquid metal is not considered.
  6. The influence of the plasma effect of the molten metal on the calculation results is neglected.

It is worth noting that the formulation of assumptions requires a trade-off between accuracy and computational efficiency. In the above models, some physical phenomena that have a small effect or high difficulty on the calculation results are simplified or ignored. Such simplifications make numerical simulations more efficient and computationally tractable, while still yielding accurate results.

4. Initial conditions

The preheating temperature of the substrate was set to 393 K, at which time all materials were in the solid state and the flow rate was zero.

5. Material parameters

The material used is SS316L and the relevant parameters required for numerical simulations are shown in Table I.46,77,78


SS316L-related parameters.

Density of solid metal (kg/m3�metal 7980 
Solid phase line temperature (K) �� 1658 
Liquid phase line temperature (K) �� 1723 
Vaporization temperature (K) �� 3090 
Latent heat of melting (⁠ J/kg⁠) �� 2.60×105 
Latent heat of evaporation (⁠ J/kg⁠) �� 7.45×106 
Surface tension of liquid phase (N /m⁠) � 1.60 
Liquid metal viscosity (kg/m s) �� 6×10−3 
Gaseous metal viscosity (kg/m s) �gas 1.85×10−5 
Temperature coefficient of surface tension (N/m K) ��/�T 0.80×10−3 
Molar mass (⁠ kg/mol⁠) 0.05 593 
Emissivity � 0.26 
Laser absorption �0 0.35 
Ambient pressure (kPa) �� 101 325 
Ambient temperature (K) �0 300 
Stefan–Boltzmann constant (W/m2 K4� 5.67×10−8 
Thermal conductivity of metals (⁠ W/m K⁠) � 24.55 
Density of protective gas (kg/m3�gas 1.25 
Coefficient of thermal expansion (/K) �� 16×10−6 
Generalized gas constant (⁠ J/mol K⁠) 8.314 


With the objective of studying in depth the evolutionary patterns of single-track and double-track molten pool development, detailed observations were made for certain specific locations in the model, as shown in Fig. 6. In this figure, P1 and P2 represent the longitudinal tangents to the centers of the two melt tracks in the XZ plane, while L1 is the transverse profile in the YZ plane. The scanning direction is positive and negative along the X axis. Points A and B are the locations of the centers of the molten pool of the first and second melt tracks, respectively (x = 1.995 × 10−4, y = 5 × 10−7, and z = −4.85 × 10−5).

FIG. 6.


Schematic diagram of observation position.

A. Single-track simulation

A series of single-track molten pool simulation experiments were carried out in order to investigate the influence law of laser power as well as scanning speed on the HP-LPBF process. Figure 7 demonstrates the evolution of the 3D morphology and temperature field of the single-track molten pool in the time period of 50–500 μs under a laser power of 100 W and a scanning speed of 800 mm/s. The powder bed is in the natural cooling state. When t = 50 μs, the powder is heated by the laser heat and rapidly melts and settles to form the initial molten pool. This process is accompanied by partial melting of the substrate and solidification together with the melted powder. The molten pool rapidly expands with increasing width, depth, length, and temperature, as shown in Fig. 7(a). When t = 150 μs, the molten pool expands more obviously, and the temperature starts to transfer to the surrounding area, forming a heat-affected zone. At this point, the width of the molten pool tends to stabilize, and the temperature in the center of the molten pool has reached its peak and remains largely stable. However, the phenomenon of molten pool spatter was also observed in this process, as shown in Fig. 7(b). As time advances, when t = 300 μs, solidification begins to occur at the tail of the molten pool, and tiny ripples are produced on the solidified surface. This is due to the fact that the melt flows toward the region with large temperature gradient under the influence of Marangoni convection and solidifies together with the melt at the end of the bath. At this point, the temperature gradient at the front of the bath is significantly larger than at the end. While the width of the molten pool was gradually reduced, the shape of the molten pool was gradually changed to a “comet” shape. In addition, a slight depression was observed at the top of the bath because the peak temperature at the surface of the bath reached the evaporation temperature, which resulted in a recoil pressure perpendicular to the surface of the bath downward, creating a depressed region. As the laser focal spot moves and is paired with the Marangoni convection of the melt, these recessed areas will be filled in as shown in Fig. 7(c). It has been shown that the depressed regions are the result of the coupled effect of Marangoni convection, recoil pressure, and surface tension.79 By t = 500 μs, the width and height of the molten pool stabilize and show a “comet” shape in Fig. 7(d).

FIG. 7.


Single-track molten pool process: (a) t = 50  ��⁠, (b) t = 150  ��⁠, (c) t = 300  ��⁠, (d) t = 500  ��⁠.

Figure 8 depicts the velocity vector diagram of the P1 profile in a single-track molten pool, the length of the arrows represents the magnitude of the velocity, and the maximum velocity is about 2.36 m/s. When t = 50 μs, the molten pool takes shape, and the velocities at the two ends of the pool are the largest. The variation of the velocities at the front end is especially more significant in Fig. 8(a). As the time advances to t = 150 μs, the molten pool expands rapidly, in which the velocity at the tail increases and changes more significantly, while the velocity at the front is relatively small. At this stage, the melt moves backward from the center of the molten pool, which in turn expands the molten pool area. The melt at the back end of the molten pool center flows backward along the edge of the molten pool surface and then converges along the edge of the molten pool to the bottom center, rising to form a closed loop. Similarly, a similar closed loop is formed at the front end of the center of the bath, but with a shorter path. However, a large portion of the melt in the center of the closed loop formed at the front end of the bath is in a nearly stationary state. The main cause of this melt flow phenomenon is the effect of temperature gradient and surface tension (the Marangoni effect), as shown in Figs. 8(b) and 8(e). This dynamic behavior of the melt tends to form an “elliptical” pool. At t = 300 μs, the tendency of the above two melt flows to close the loop is more prominent and faster in Fig. 8(c). When t = 500 μs, the velocity vector of the molten pool shows a stable trend, and the closed loop of melt flow also remains stable. With the gradual laser focal spot movement, the melt is gradually solidified at its tail, and finally, a continuous and stable single track is formed in Fig. 8(d).

FIG. 8.


Vector plot of single-track molten pool velocity in XZ longitudinal section: (a) t = 50  ��⁠, (b) t = 150  ��⁠, (c) t = 300  ��⁠, (d) t = 500  ��⁠, (e) molten pool flow.

In order to explore in depth the transient evolution of the molten pool, the evolution of the single-track temperature field and the melt flow was monitored in the YZ cross section. Figure 9(a) shows the state of the powder bed at the initial moment. When t = 250 μs, the laser focal spot acts on the powder bed and the powder starts to melt and gradually collects in the molten pool. At this time, the substrate will also start to melt, and the melt flow mainly moves in the downward and outward directions and the velocity is maximum at the edges in Fig. 9(b). When t = 300 μs, the width and depth of the molten pool increase due to the recoil pressure. At this time, the melt flows more slowly at the center, but the direction of motion is still downward in Fig. 9(c). When t = 350 μs, the width and depth of the molten pool further increase, at which time the intensity of the melt flow reaches its peak and the direction of motion remains the same in Fig. 9(d). When t = 400 μs, the melt starts to move upward, and the surrounding powder or molten material gradually fills up, causing the surface of the molten pool to begin to flatten. At this time, the maximum velocity of the melt is at the center of the bath, while the velocity at the edge is close to zero, and the edge of the melt starts to solidify in Fig. 9(e). When t = 450 μs, the melt continues to move upward, forming a convex surface of the melt track. However, the melt movement slows down, as shown in Fig. 9(f). When t = 500 μs, the melt further moves upward and its speed gradually becomes smaller. At the same time, the melt solidifies further, as shown in Fig. 9(g). When t = 550 μs, the melt track is basically formed into a single track with a similar “mountain” shape. At this stage, the velocity is close to zero only at the center of the molten pool, and the flow behavior of the melt is poor in Fig. 9(h). At t = 600 μs, the melt stops moving and solidification is rapidly completed. Up to this point, a single track is formed in Fig. 9(i). During the laser action on the powder bed, the substrate melts and combines with the molten state powder. The powder-to-powder fusion is like the convergence of water droplets, which are rapidly fused by surface tension. However, the fusion between the molten state powder and the substrate occurs driven by surface tension, and the molten powder around the molten pool is pulled toward the substrate (a wetting effect occurs), which ultimately results in the formation of a monolithic whole.38,80,81

FIG. 9.


Evolution of single-track molten pool temperature and melt flow in the YZ cross section: (a) t = 0  ��⁠, (b) t = 250  ��⁠, (c) t = 300  ��⁠, (d) t = 350  ��⁠, (e) t = 400  ��⁠, (f) t = 450  ��⁠, (g) t = 500  ��⁠, (h) t = 550  ��⁠, (i) t = 600  ��⁠.

The wetting ability between the liquid metal and the solid substrate in the molten pool directly affects the degree of balling of the melt,82,83 and the wetting ability can be measured by the contact angle of a single track in Fig. 10. A smaller value of contact angle represents better wettability. The contact angle α can be calculated by�=�1−�22,


where �1 and �2 are the contact angles of the left and right regions, respectively.

FIG. 10.


Schematic of contact angle.

Relevant studies have confirmed that the wettability is better at a contact angle α around or below 40°.84 After measurement, a single-track contact angle α of about 33° was obtained under this process parameter, which further confirms the good wettability.

B. Double-track simulation

In order to deeply investigate the influence of hatch spacing on the characteristics of the HP-LPBF process, a series of double-track molten pool simulation experiments were systematically carried out. Figure 11 shows in detail the dynamic changes of the 3D morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool in the time period of 2050–2500 μs under the conditions of laser power of 100 W, scanning speed of 800 mm/s, and hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. By comparing the study with Fig. 7, it is observed that the basic characteristics of the 3D morphology and temperature field of the second track are similar to those of the first track. However, there are subtle differences between them. The first track exhibits a basically symmetric shape, but the second track morphology shows a slight deviation influenced by the difference in thermal diffusion rate between the solidified metal and the powder. Otherwise, the other characteristic information is almost the same as that of the first track. Figure 12 shows the velocity vector plot of the P2 profile in the double-track molten pool, with a maximum velocity of about 2.63 m/s. The melt dynamics at both ends of the pool are more stable at t = 2050 μs, where the maximum rate of the second track is only 1/3 of that of the first one. Other than that, the rest of the information is almost no significant difference from the characteristic information of the first track. Figure 13 demonstrates a detailed observation of the double-track temperature field and melts flow in the YZ cross section, and a comparative study with Fig. 9 reveals that the width of the second track is slightly wider. In addition, after the melt direction shifts from bottom to top, the first track undergoes four time periods (50 μs) to reach full solidification, while the second track takes five time periods. This is due to the presence of significant heat buildup in the powder bed after the forming of the first track, resulting in a longer dynamic time of the melt and an increased molten pool lifetime. In conclusion, the level of specimen forming can be significantly optimized by adjusting the laser power and hatch spacing.

FIG. 11.


Double-track molten pool process: (a) t = 2050  ��⁠, (b) t = 2150  ��⁠, (c) t = 2300  ��⁠, (d) t = 2500  ��⁠.

FIG. 12.


Vector plot of double-track molten pool velocity in XZ longitudinal section: (a) t = 2050  ��⁠, (b) t = 2150  ��⁠, (c) t = 2300  ��⁠, (d) t = 2500  ��⁠.

FIG. 13.


Evolution of double-track molten pool temperature and melt flow in the YZ cross section: (a) t = 2250  ��⁠, (b) t = 2300  ��⁠, (c) t = 2350  ��⁠, (d) t = 2400  ��⁠, (e) t = 2450  ��⁠, (f) t = 2500  ��⁠, (g) t = 2550  ��⁠, (h) t = 2600  ��⁠, (i) t = 2650  ��⁠.

In order to quantitatively detect the molten pool dimensions as well as the remolten region dimensions, the molten pool characterization information in Fig. 14 is constructed by drawing the boundary on the YZ cross section based on the isothermal surface of the liquid phase line. It can be observed that the heights of the first track and second track are basically the same, but the depth of the second track increases relative to the first track. The molten pool width is mainly positively correlated with the laser power as well as the scanning speed (the laser line energy density �⁠). However, the remelted zone width is negatively correlated with the hatch spacing (the overlapping ratio). Overall, the forming quality of the specimens can be directly influenced by adjusting the laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing.

FIG. 14.


Double-track molten pool characterization information on YZ cross section.

In order to study the variation rule of the temperature in the center of the molten pool with time, Fig. 15 demonstrates the temperature variation curves with time for two reference points, A and B. Among them, the red dotted line indicates the liquid phase line temperature of SS316L. From the figure, it can be seen that the maximum temperature at the center of the molten pool in the first track is lower than that in the second track, which is mainly due to the heat accumulation generated after passing through the first track. The maximum temperature gradient was calculated to be 1.69 × 108 K/s. When the laser scanned the first track, the temperature in the center of the molten pool of the second track increased slightly. Similarly, when the laser scanned the second track, a similar situation existed in the first track. Since the temperature gradient in the second track is larger than that in the first track, the residence time of the liquid phase in the molten pool of the first track is longer than that of the second track.

FIG. 15.


Temperature profiles as a function of time for two reference points A and B.

C. Simulation analysis of molten pool under different process parameters

In order to deeply investigate the effects of various process parameters on the mesoscopic-scale temperature field, molten pool characteristic information and defects of HP-LPBF, numerical simulation experiments on mesoscopic-scale laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing of double-track molten pools were carried out.

1. Laser power

Figure 16 shows the effects of different laser power on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool at a scanning speed of 800 mm/s and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. When P = 50 W, a smaller molten pool is formed due to the lower heat generated by the Gaussian light source per unit time. This leads to a smaller track width, which results in adjacent track not lapping properly and the presence of a large number of unmelted powder particles, resulting in an increase in the number of defects, such as pores in the specimen. The surface of the track is relatively flat, and the depth is small. In addition, the temperature gradient before and after the molten pool was large, and the depression location appeared at the biased front end in Fig. 16(a). When P = 100 W, the surface of the track is flat and smooth with excellent lap. Due to the Marangoni effect, the velocity field of the molten pool is in the form of “vortex,” and the melt has good fluidity, and the maximum velocity reaches 2.15 m/s in Fig. 16(b). When P = 200 W, the heat generated by the Gaussian light source per unit time is too large, resulting in the melt rapidly reaching the evaporation temperature, generating a huge recoil pressure, forming a large molten pool, and the surface of the track is obviously raised. The melt movement is intense, especially the closed loop at the center end of the molten pool. At this time, the depth and width of the molten pool are large, leading to the expansion of the remolten region and the increased chance of the appearance of porosity defects in Fig. 16(c). The results show that at low laser power, the surface tension in the molten pool is dominant. At high laser power, recoil pressure is its main role.

FIG. 16.


Simulation results of double-track molten pool under different laser powers: (a) P = 50 W, (b) P = 100 W, (c) P = 200 W.

Table II shows the effect of different laser powers on the characteristic information of the double-track molten pool at a scanning speed of 800 mm/s and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. The negative overlapping ratio in the table indicates that the melt tracks are not lapped, and 26/29 indicates the melt depth of the first track/second track. It can be seen that with the increase in laser power, the melt depth, melt width, melt height, and remelted zone show a gradual increase. At the same time, the overlapping ratio also increases. Especially in the process of laser power from 50 to 200 W, the melting depth and melting width increased the most, which increased nearly 2 and 1.5 times, respectively. Meanwhile, the overlapping ratio also increases with the increase in laser power, which indicates that the melting and fusion of materials are better at high laser power. On the other hand, the dimensions of the molten pool did not change uniformly with the change of laser power. Specifically, the depth-to-width ratio of the molten pool increased from about 0.30 to 0.39 during the increase from 50 to 120 W, which further indicates that the effective heat transfer in the vertical direction is greater than that in the horizontal direction with the increase in laser power. This dimensional response to laser power is mainly affected by the recoil pressure and also by the difference in the densification degree between the powder layer and the metal substrate. In addition, according to the experimental results, the contact angle shows a tendency to increase and then decrease during the process of laser power increase, and always stays within the range of less than 33°. Therefore, in practical applications, it is necessary to select the appropriate laser power according to the specific needs in order to achieve the best processing results.


Double-track molten pool characterization information at different laser powers.

Laser power (W)Depth (μm)Width (μm)Height (μm)Remolten region (μm)Overlapping ratio (%)Contact angle (°)
50 16 54 11 −10 23 
100 26/29 74 14 18 23.33 33 
200 37/45 116 21 52 93.33 28 

2. Scanning speed

Figure 17 demonstrates the effect of different scanning speeds on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool at a laser power of 100 W and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. With the gradual increase in scanning speed, the surface morphology of the molten pool evolves from circular to elliptical. When � = 200 mm/s, the slow scanning speed causes the material to absorb too much heat, which is very easy to trigger the overburning phenomenon. At this point, the molten pool is larger and the surface morphology is uneven. This situation is consistent with the previously discussed scenario with high laser power in Fig. 17(a). However, when � = 1600 mm/s, the scanning speed is too fast, resulting in the material not being able to absorb sufficient heat, which triggers the powder particles that fail to melt completely to have a direct effect on the bonding of the melt to the substrate. At this time, the molten pool volume is relatively small and the neighboring melt track cannot lap properly. This result is consistent with the previously discussed case of low laser power in Fig. 17(b). Overall, the ratio of the laser power to the scanning speed (the line energy density �⁠) has a direct effect on the temperature field and surface morphology of the molten pool.

FIG. 17.


Simulation results of double-track molten pool under different scanning speed: (a)  � = 200 mm/s, (b)  � = 1600 mm/s.

Table III shows the effects of different scanning speed on the characteristic information of the double-track molten pool under the condition of laser power of 100 W and hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. It can be seen that the scanning speed has a significant effect on the melt depth, melt width, melt height, remolten region, and overlapping ratio. With the increase in scanning speed, the melt depth, melt width, melt height, remelted zone, and overlapping ratio show a gradual decreasing trend. Among them, the melt depth and melt width decreased faster, while the melt height and remolten region decreased relatively slowly. In addition, when the scanning speed was increased from 200 to 800 mm/s, the decreasing speeds of melt depth and melt width were significantly accelerated, while the decreasing speeds of overlapping ratio were relatively slow. When the scanning speed was further increased to 1600 mm/s, the decreasing speeds of melt depth and melt width were further accelerated, and the un-lapped condition of the melt channel also appeared. In addition, the contact angle increases and then decreases with the scanning speed, and both are lower than 33°. Therefore, when selecting the scanning speed, it is necessary to make reasonable trade-offs according to the specific situation, and take into account the factors of melt depth, melt width, melt height, remolten region, and overlapping ratio, in order to achieve the best processing results.


Double-track molten pool characterization information at different scanning speeds.

Scanning speed (mm/s)Depth (μm)Width (μm)Height (μm)Remolten region (μm)Overlapping ratio (%)Contact angle (°)
200 55/68 182 19/32 124 203.33 22 
1600 13 50 11 −16.67 31 

3. Hatch spacing

Figure 18 shows the effect of different hatch spacing on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool under the condition of laser power of 100 W and scanning speed of 800 mm/s. The surface morphology and temperature field of the first track and second track are basically the same, but slightly different. The first track shows a basically symmetric morphology along the scanning direction, while the second track shows a slight offset due to the difference in the heat transfer rate between the solidified material and the powder particles. When the hatch spacing is too small, the overlapping ratio increases and the probability of defects caused by remelting phenomenon grows. When the hatch spacing is too large, the neighboring melt track cannot overlap properly, and the powder particles are not completely melted, leading to an increase in the number of holes. In conclusion, the ratio of the line energy density � to the hatch spacing (the volume energy density E) has a significant effect on the temperature field and surface morphology of the molten pool.

FIG. 18.


Simulation results of double-track molten pool under different hatch spacings: (a) H = 0.03 mm, (b) H = 0.12 mm.

Table IV shows the effects of different hatch spacing on the characteristic information of the double-track molten pool under the condition of laser power of 100 W and scanning speed of 800 mm/s. It can be seen that the hatch spacing has little effect on the melt depth, melt width, and melt height, but has some effect on the remolten region. With the gradual expansion of hatch spacing, the remolten region shows a gradual decrease. At the same time, the overlapping ratio also decreased with the increase in hatch spacing. In addition, it is observed that the contact angle shows a tendency to increase and then remain stable when the hatch spacing increases, which has a more limited effect on it. Therefore, trade-offs and decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis when selecting the hatch spacing.


Double-track molten pool characterization information at different hatch spacings.

Hatch spacing (mm)Depth (μm)Width (μm)Height (μm)Remolten region (μm)Overlapping ratio (%)Contact angle (°)
0.03 25/27 82 14 59 173.33 30 
0.12 26 78 14 −35 33 

In summary, the laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing have a significant effect on the formation of the molten pool, and the correct selection of these three process parameters is crucial to ensure the forming quality. In addition, the melt depth of the second track is slightly larger than that of the first track at higher line energy density � and volume energy density E. This is mainly due to the fact that a large amount of heat accumulation is generated after the first track, forming a larger molten pool volume, which leads to an increase in the melt depth.

D. Simulation analysis of molten pool with powder particle size and laser focal spot diameter

Figure 19 demonstrates the effect of different powder particle sizes and laser focal spot diameters on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool under a laser power of 100 W, a scanning speed of 800 mm/s, and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. In the process of melting coarse powder with small laser focal spot diameter, the laser energy cannot completely melt the larger powder particles, resulting in their partial melting and further generating excessive pore defects. The larger powder particles tend to generate zigzag molten pool edges, which cause an increase in the roughness of the melt track surface. In addition, the molten pool is also prone to generate the present spatter phenomenon, which can directly affect the quality of forming. The volume of the formed molten pool is relatively small, while the melt depth, melt width, and melt height are all smaller relative to the fine powder in Fig. 19(a). In the process of melting fine powders with a large laser focal spot diameter, the laser energy is able to melt the fine powder particles sufficiently, even to the point of overmelting. This results in a large number of fine spatters being generated at the edge of the molten pool, which causes porosity defects in the melt track in Fig. 19(b). In addition, the maximum velocity of the molten pool is larger for large powder particle sizes compared to small powder particle sizes, which indicates that the temperature gradient in the molten pool is larger for large powder particle sizes and the melt motion is more intense. However, the size of the laser focal spot diameter has a relatively small effect on the melt motion. However, a larger focal spot diameter induces a larger melt volume with greater depth, width, and height. In conclusion, a small powder size helps to reduce the surface roughness of the specimen, and a small laser spot diameter reduces the minimum forming size of a single track.

FIG. 19.


Simulation results of double-track molten pool with different powder particle size and laser focal spot diameter: (a) focal spot = 25 μm, coarse powder, (b) focal spot = 80 μm, fine powder.

Table V shows the maximum temperature gradient at the reference point for different powder sizes and laser focal spot diameters. As can be seen from the table, the maximum temperature gradient is lower than that of HP-LPBF for both coarse powders with a small laser spot diameter and fine powders with a large spot diameter, a phenomenon that leads to an increase in the heat transfer rate of HP-LPBF, which in turn leads to a corresponding increase in the cooling rate and, ultimately, to the formation of finer microstructures.


Maximum temperature gradient at the reference point for different powder particle sizes and laser focal spot diameters.

Laser power (W)Scanning speed (mm/s)Hatch spacing (mm)Average powder size (μm)Laser focal spot diameter (μm)Maximum temperature gradient (×107 K/s)
100 800 0.06 31.7 25 7.89 
11.5 80 7.11 


In this study, the geometrical characteristics of 3D coarse and fine powder particles were first calculated using DEM and then numerical simulations of single track and double track in the process of forming SS316L from monolayer HP-LPBF at mesoscopic scale were developed using CFD method. The effects of Marangoni convection, surface tension, recoil pressure, gravity, thermal convection, thermal radiation, and evaporative heat dissipation on the heat and mass transfer in the molten pool were considered in this model. The effects of laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing on the dynamics of the single-track and double-track molten pools, as well as on other characteristic information, were investigated. The effects of the powder particle size on the molten pool were investigated comparatively with the laser focal spot diameter. The main conclusions are as follows:

  1. The results show that the temperature gradient at the front of the molten pool is significantly larger than that at the tail, and the molten pool exhibits a “comet” morphology. At the top of the molten pool, there is a slightly concave region, which is the result of the coupling of Marangoni convection, recoil pressure, and surface tension. The melt flow forms two closed loops, which are mainly influenced by temperature gradients and surface tension. This special dynamic behavior of the melt tends to form an “elliptical” molten pool and an almost “mountain” shape in single-track forming.
  2. The basic characteristics of the three-dimensional morphology and temperature field of the second track are similar to those of the first track, but there are subtle differences. The first track exhibits a basically symmetrical shape; however, due to the difference in thermal diffusion rates between the solidified metal and the powder, a slight asymmetry in the molten pool morphology of the second track occurs. After forming through the first track, there is a significant heat buildup in the powder bed, resulting in a longer dynamic time of the melt, which increases the life of the molten pool. The heights of the first track and second track remained essentially the same, but the depth of the second track was greater relative to the first track. In addition, the maximum temperature gradient was 1.69 × 108 K/s during HP-LPBF forming.
  3. At low laser power, the surface tension in the molten pool plays a dominant role. At high laser power, recoil pressure becomes the main influencing factor. With the increase of laser power, the effective heat transfer in the vertical direction is superior to that in the horizontal direction. With the gradual increase of scanning speed, the surface morphology of the molten pool evolves from circular to elliptical. In addition, the scanning speed has a significant effect on the melt depth, melt width, melt height, remolten region, and overlapping ratio. Too large or too small hatch spacing will lead to remelting or non-lap phenomenon, which in turn causes the formation of defects.
  4. When using a small laser focal spot diameter, it is difficult to completely melt large powder particle sizes, resulting in partial melting and excessive porosity generation. At the same time, large powder particles produce curved edges of the molten pool, resulting in increased surface roughness of the melt track. In addition, spatter occurs, which directly affects the forming quality. At small focal spot diameters, the molten pool volume is relatively small, and the melt depth, the melt width, and the melt height are correspondingly small. Taken together, the small powder particle size helps to reduce surface roughness, while the small spot diameter reduces the forming size.


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Lab-on-a-Chip 시스템의 혈류 역학에 대한 검토: 엔지니어링 관점

Review on Blood Flow Dynamics in Lab-on-a-Chip Systems: An Engineering Perspective

  • Bin-Jie Lai
  • Li-Tao Zhu
  • Zhe Chen*
  • Bo Ouyang*
  • , and 
  • Zheng-Hong Luo*


다양한 수송 메커니즘 하에서, “LOC(lab-on-a-chip)” 시스템에서 유동 전단 속도 조건과 밀접한 관련이 있는 혈류 역학은 다양한 수송 현상을 초래하는 것으로 밝혀졌습니다.

본 연구는 적혈구의 동적 혈액 점도 및 탄성 거동과 같은 점탄성 특성의 역할을 통해 LOC 시스템의 혈류 패턴을 조사합니다. 모세관 및 전기삼투압의 주요 매개변수를 통해 LOC 시스템의 혈액 수송 현상에 대한 연구는 실험적, 이론적 및 수많은 수치적 접근 방식을 통해 제공됩니다.

전기 삼투압 점탄성 흐름에 의해 유발되는 교란은 특히 향후 연구 기회를 위해 혈액 및 기타 점탄성 유체를 취급하는 LOC 장치의 혼합 및 분리 기능 향상에 논의되고 적용됩니다. 또한, 본 연구는 보다 정확하고 단순화된 혈류 모델에 대한 요구와 전기역학 효과 하에서 점탄성 유체 흐름에 대한 수치 연구에 대한 강조와 같은 LOC 시스템 하에서 혈류 역학의 수치 모델링의 문제를 식별합니다.

전기역학 현상을 연구하는 동안 제타 전위 조건에 대한 보다 실용적인 가정도 강조됩니다. 본 연구는 모세관 및 전기삼투압에 의해 구동되는 미세유체 시스템의 혈류 역학에 대한 포괄적이고 학제적인 관점을 제공하는 것을 목표로 한다.


1. Introduction

1.1. Microfluidic Flow in Lab-on-a-Chip (LOC) Systems

Over the past several decades, the ability to control and utilize fluid flow patterns at microscales has gained considerable interest across a myriad of scientific and engineering disciplines, leading to growing interest in scientific research of microfluidics. 

(1) Microfluidics, an interdisciplinary field that straddles physics, engineering, and biotechnology, is dedicated to the behavior, precise control, and manipulation of fluids geometrically constrained to a small, typically submillimeter, scale. 

(2) The engineering community has increasingly focused on microfluidics, exploring different driving forces to enhance working fluid transport, with the aim of accurately and efficiently describing, controlling, designing, and applying microfluidic flow principles and transport phenomena, particularly for miniaturized applications. 

(3) This attention has chiefly been fueled by the potential to revolutionize diagnostic and therapeutic techniques in the biomedical and pharmaceutical sectorsUnder various driving forces in microfluidic flows, intriguing transport phenomena have bolstered confidence in sustainable and efficient applications in fields such as pharmaceutical, biochemical, and environmental science. The “lab-on-a-chip” (LOC) system harnesses microfluidic flow to enable fluid processing and the execution of laboratory tasks on a chip-sized scale. LOC systems have played a vital role in the miniaturization of laboratory operations such as mixing, chemical reaction, separation, flow control, and detection on small devices, where a wide variety of fluids is adapted. Biological fluid flow like blood and other viscoelastic fluids are notably studied among the many working fluids commonly utilized by LOC systems, owing to the optimization in small fluid sample volumed, rapid response times, precise control, and easy manipulation of flow patterns offered by the system under various driving forces. 

(4)The driving forces in blood flow can be categorized as passive or active transport mechanisms and, in some cases, both. Under various transport mechanisms, the unique design of microchannels enables different functionalities in driving, mixing, separating, and diagnosing blood and drug delivery in the blood. 

(5) Understanding and manipulating these driving forces are crucial for optimizing the performance of a LOC system. Such knowledge presents the opportunity to achieve higher efficiency and reliability in addressing cellular level challenges in medical diagnostics, forensic studies, cancer detection, and other fundamental research areas, for applications of point-of-care (POC) devices. 


1.2. Engineering Approach of Microfluidic Transport Phenomena in LOC Systems

Different transport mechanisms exhibit unique properties at submillimeter length scales in microfluidic devices, leading to significant transport phenomena that differ from those of macroscale flows. An in-depth understanding of these unique transport phenomena under microfluidic systems is often required in fluidic mechanics to fully harness the potential functionality of a LOC system to obtain systematically designed and precisely controlled transport of microfluids under their respective driving force. Fluid mechanics is considered a vital component in chemical engineering, enabling the analysis of fluid behaviors in various unit designs, ranging from large-scale reactors to separation units. Transport phenomena in fluid mechanics provide a conceptual framework for analytically and descriptively explaining why and how experimental results and physiological phenomena occur. The Navier–Stokes (N–S) equation, along with other governing equations, is often adapted to accurately describe fluid dynamics by accounting for pressure, surface properties, velocity, and temperature variations over space and time. In addition, limiting factors and nonidealities for these governing equations should be considered to impose corrections for empirical consistency before physical models are assembled for more accurate controls and efficiency. Microfluidic flow systems often deviate from ideal conditions, requiring adjustments to the standard governing equations. These deviations could arise from factors such as viscous effects, surface interactions, and non-Newtonian fluid properties from different microfluid types and geometrical layouts of microchannels. Addressing these nonidealities supports the refining of theoretical models and prediction accuracy for microfluidic flow behaviors.

The analytical calculation of coupled nonlinear governing equations, which describes the material and energy balances of systems under ideal conditions, often requires considerable computational efforts. However, advancements in computation capabilities, cost reduction, and improved accuracy have made numerical simulations using different numerical and modeling methods a powerful tool for effectively solving these complex coupled equations and modeling various transport phenomena. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a numerical technique used to investigate the spatial and temporal distribution of various flow parameters. It serves as a critical approach to provide insights and reasoning for decision-making regarding the optimal designs involving fluid dynamics, even prior to complex physical model prototyping and experimental procedures. The integration of experimental data, theoretical analysis, and reliable numerical simulations from CFD enables systematic variation of analytical parameters through quantitative analysis, where adjustment to delivery of blood flow and other working fluids in LOC systems can be achieved.

Numerical methods such as the Finite-Difference Method (FDM), Finite-Element-Method (FEM), and Finite-Volume Method (FVM) are heavily employed in CFD and offer diverse approaches to achieve discretization of Eulerian flow equations through filling a mesh of the flow domain. A more in-depth review of numerical methods in CFD and its application for blood flow simulation is provided in Section 2.2.2.

1.3. Scope of the Review

In this Review, we explore and characterize the blood flow phenomena within the LOC systems, utilizing both physiological and engineering modeling approaches. Similar approaches will be taken to discuss capillary-driven flow and electric-osmotic flow (EOF) under electrokinetic phenomena as a passive and active transport scheme, respectively, for blood transport in LOC systems. Such an analysis aims to bridge the gap between physical (experimental) and engineering (analytical) perspectives in studying and manipulating blood flow delivery by different driving forces in LOC systems. Moreover, the Review hopes to benefit the interests of not only blood flow control in LOC devices but also the transport of viscoelastic fluids, which are less studied in the literature compared to that of Newtonian fluids, in LOC systems.

Section 2 examines the complex interplay between viscoelastic properties of blood and blood flow patterns under shear flow in LOC systems, while engineering numerical modeling approaches for blood flow are presented for assistance. Sections 3 and 4 look into the theoretical principles, numerical governing equations, and modeling methodologies for capillary driven flow and EOF in LOC systems as well as their impact on blood flow dynamics through the quantification of key parameters of the two driving forces. Section 5 concludes the characterized blood flow transport processes in LOC systems under these two forces. Additionally, prospective areas of research in improving the functionality of LOC devices employing blood and other viscoelastic fluids and potentially justifying mechanisms underlying microfluidic flow patterns outside of LOC systems are presented. Finally, the challenges encountered in the numerical studies of blood flow under LOC systems are acknowledged, paving the way for further research.

2. Blood Flow Phenomena


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2.1. Physiological Blood Flow Behavior

Blood, an essential physiological fluid in the human body, serves the vital role of transporting oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Additionally, blood is responsible for suspending various blood cells including erythrocytes (red blood cells or RBCs), leukocytes (white blood cells), and thrombocytes (blood platelets) in a plasma medium.Among the cells mentioned above, red blood cells (RBCs) comprise approximately 40–45% of the volume of healthy blood. 

(7) An RBC possesses an inherent elastic property with a biconcave shape of an average diameter of 8 μm and a thickness of 2 μm. This biconcave shape maximizes the surface-to-volume ratio, allowing RBCs to endure significant distortion while maintaining their functionality. 

(8,9) Additionally, the biconcave shape optimizes gas exchange, facilitating efficient uptake of oxygen due to the increased surface area. The inherent elasticity of RBCs allows them to undergo substantial distortion from their original biconcave shape and exhibits high flexibility, particularly in narrow channels.RBC deformability enables the cell to deform from a biconcave shape to a parachute-like configuration, despite minor differences in RBC shape dynamics under shear flow between initial cell locations. As shown in Figure 1(a), RBCs initiating with different resting shapes and orientations displaying display a similar deformation pattern 

(10) in terms of its shape. Shear flow induces an inward bending of the cell at the rear position of the rim to the final bending position, 

(11) resulting in an alignment toward the same position of the flow direction.

Figure 1. Images of varying deformation of RBCs and different dynamic blood flow behaviors. (a) The deforming shape behavior of RBCs at four different initiating positions under the same experimental conditions of a flow from left to right, (10) (b) RBC aggregation, (13) (c) CFL region. (18) Reproduced with permission from ref (10). Copyright 2011 Elsevier. Reproduced with permission from ref (13). Copyright 2022 The Authors, under the terms of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) License Reproduced with permission from ref (18). Copyright 2019 Elsevier.

The flexible property of RBCs enables them to navigate through narrow capillaries and traverse a complex network of blood vessels. The deformability of RBCs depends on various factors, including the channel geometry, RBC concentration, and the elastic properties of the RBC membrane. 

(12) Both flexibility and deformability are vital in the process of oxygen exchange among blood and tissues throughout the body, allowing cells to flow in vessels even smaller than the original cell size prior to deforming.As RBCs serve as major components in blood, their collective dynamics also hugely affect blood rheology. RBCs exhibit an aggregation phenomenon due to cell to cell interactions, such as adhesion forces, among populated cells, inducing unique blood flow patterns and rheological behaviors in microfluidic systems. For blood flow in large vessels between a diameter of 1 and 3 cm, where shear rates are not high, a constant viscosity and Newtonian behavior for blood can be assumed. However, under low shear rate conditions (0.1 s

–1) in smaller vessels such as the arteries and venules, which are within a diameter of 0.2 mm to 1 cm, blood exhibits non-Newtonian properties, such as shear-thinning viscosity and viscoelasticity due to RBC aggregation and deformability. The nonlinear viscoelastic property of blood gives rise to a complex relationship between viscosity and shear rate, primarily influenced by the highly elastic behavior of RBCs. A wide range of research on the transient behavior of the RBC shape and aggregation characteristics under varied flow circumstances has been conducted, aiming to obtain a better understanding of the interaction between blood flow shear forces from confined flows.

For a better understanding of the unique blood flow structures and rheological behaviors in microfluidic systems, some blood flow patterns are introduced in the following section.

2.1.1. RBC Aggregation

RBC aggregation is a vital phenomenon to be considered when designing LOC devices due to its impact on the viscosity of the bulk flow. Under conditions of low shear rate, such as in stagnant or low flow rate regions, RBCs tend to aggregate, forming structures known as rouleaux, resembling stacks of coins as shown in Figure 1(b). 

(13) The aggregation of RBCs increases the viscosity at the aggregated region, 

(14) hence slowing down the overall blood flow. However, when exposed to high shear rates, RBC aggregates disaggregate. As shear rates continue to increase, RBCs tend to deform, elongating and aligning themselves with the direction of the flow. 

(15) Such a dynamic shift in behavior from the cells in response to the shear rate forms the basis of the viscoelastic properties observed in whole blood. In essence, the viscosity of the blood varies according to the shear rate conditions, which are related to the velocity gradient of the system. It is significant to take the intricate relationship between shear rate conditions and the change of blood viscosity due to RBC aggregation into account since various flow driving conditions may induce varied effects on the degree of aggregation.

2.1.2. Fåhræus-Lindqvist Effect

The Fåhræus–Lindqvist (FL) effect describes the gradual decrease in the apparent viscosity of blood as the channel diameter decreases. 

(16) This effect is attributed to the migration of RBCs toward the central region in the microchannel, where the flow rate is higher, due to the presence of higher pressure and asymmetric distribution of shear forces. This migration of RBCs, typically observed at blood vessels less than 0.3 mm, toward the higher flow rate region contributes to the change in blood viscosity, which becomes dependent on the channel size. Simultaneously, the increase of the RBC concentration in the central region of the microchannel results in the formation of a less viscous region close to the microchannel wall. This region called the Cell-Free Layer (CFL), is primarily composed of plasma. 

(17) The combination of the FL effect and the following CFL formation provides a unique phenomenon that is often utilized in passive and active plasma separation mechanisms, involving branched and constriction channels for various applications in plasma separation using microfluidic systems.

2.1.3. Cell-Free Layer Formation

In microfluidic blood flow, RBCs form aggregates at the microchannel core and result in a region that is mostly devoid of RBCs near the microchannel walls, as shown in Figure 1(c). 

(18) The region is known as the cell-free layer (CFL). The CFL region is often known to possess a lower viscosity compared to other regions within the blood flow due to the lower viscosity value of plasma when compared to that of the aggregated RBCs. Therefore, a thicker CFL region composed of plasma correlates to a reduced apparent whole blood viscosity. 

(19) A thicker CFL region is often established following the RBC aggregation at the microchannel core under conditions of decreasing the tube diameter. Apart from the dependence on the RBC concentration in the microchannel core, the CFL thickness is also affected by the volume concentration of RBCs, or hematocrit, in whole blood, as well as the deformability of RBCs. Given the influence CFL thickness has on blood flow rheological parameters such as blood flow rate, which is strongly dependent on whole blood viscosity, investigating CFL thickness under shear flow is crucial for LOC systems accounting for blood flow.

2.1.4. Plasma Skimming in Bifurcation Networks

The uneven arrangement of RBCs in bifurcating microchannels, commonly termed skimming bifurcation, arises from the axial migration of RBCs within flowing streams. This uneven distribution contributes to variations in viscosity across differing sizes of bifurcating channels but offers a stabilizing effect. Notably, higher flow rates in microchannels are associated with increased hematocrit levels, resulting in higher viscosity compared with those with lower flow rates. Parametric investigations on bifurcation angle, 

(20) thickness of the CFL, 

(21) and RBC dynamics, including aggregation and deformation, 

(22) may alter the varying viscosity of blood and its flow behavior within microchannels.

2.2. Modeling on Blood Flow Dynamics

2.2.1. Blood Properties and Mathematical Models of Blood Rheology

Under different shear rate conditions in blood flow, the elastic characteristics and dynamic changes of the RBC induce a complex velocity and stress relationship, resulting in the incompatibility of blood flow characterization through standard presumptions of constant viscosity used for Newtonian fluid flow. Blood flow is categorized as a viscoelastic non-Newtonian fluid flow where constitutive equations governing this type of flow take into consideration the nonlinear viscometric properties of blood. To mathematically characterize the evolving blood viscosity and the relationship between the elasticity of RBC and the shear blood flow, respectively, across space and time of the system, a stress tensor (τ) defined by constitutive models is often coupled in the Navier–Stokes equation to account for the collective impact of the constant dynamic viscosity (η) and the elasticity from RBCs on blood flow.The dynamic viscosity of blood is heavily dependent on the shear stress applied to the cell and various parameters from the blood such as hematocrit value, plasma viscosity, mechanical properties of the RBC membrane, and red blood cell aggregation rate. The apparent blood viscosity is considered convenient for the characterization of the relationship between the evolving blood viscosity and shear rate, which can be defined by Casson’s law, as shown in eq 1.


(1)where τ

0 is the yield stress–stress required to initiate blood flow motion, η is the Casson rheological constant, and γ̇ is the shear rate. The value of Casson’s law parameters under blood with normal hematocrit level can be defined as τ

0 = 0.0056 Pa and η = 0.0035 Pa·s. 

(23) With the known property of blood and Casson’s law parameters, an approximation can be made to the dynamic viscosity under various flow condition domains. The Power Law model is often employed to characterize the dynamic viscosity in relation to the shear rate, since precise solutions exist for specific geometries and flow circumstances, acting as a fundamental standard for definition. The Carreau and Carreau–Yasuda models can be advantageous over the Power Law model due to their ability to evaluate the dynamic viscosity at low to zero shear rate conditions. However, none of the above-mentioned models consider the memory or other elastic behavior of blood and its RBCs. Some other commonly used mathematical models and their constants for the non-Newtonian viscosity property characterization of blood are listed in Table 1 below. 

(24−26)Table 1. Comparison of Various Non-Newtonian Models for Blood Viscosity 


ModelNon-Newtonian ViscosityParameters
Power Law(2)n = 0.61, k = 0.42
Carreau(3)μ0 = 0.056 Pa·s, μ = 0.00345 Pa·s, λ = 3.1736 s, m = 2.406, a = 0.254
Walburn–Schneck(4)C1 = 0.000797 Pa·s, C2 = 0.0608 Pa·s, C3 = 0.00499, C4 = 14.585 g–1, TPMA = 25 g/L
Carreau–Yasuda(5)μ0 = 0.056 Pa·s, μ = 0.00345 Pa·s, λ = 1.902 s, n = 0.22, a = 1.25
Quemada(6)μp = 0.0012 Pa·s, k = 2.07, k0 = 4.33, γ̇c = 1.88 s–1

The blood rheology is commonly known to be influenced by two key physiological factors, namely, the hematocrit value (H

t) and the fibrinogen concentration (c

f), with an average value of 42% and 0.252 gd·L

–1, respectively. Particularly in low shear conditions, the presence of varying fibrinogen concentrations affects the tendency for aggregation and rouleaux formation, while the occurrence of aggregation is contingent upon specific levels of hematocrit. 

(27) The study from Apostolidis et al. 

(28) modifies the Casson model through emphasizing its reliance on hematocrit and fibrinogen concentration parameter values, owing to the extensive knowledge of the two physiological blood parameters.The viscoelastic response of blood is heavily dependent on the elasticity of the RBC, which is defined by the relationship between the deformation and stress relaxation from RBCs under a specific location of shear flow as a function of the velocity field. The stress tensor is usually characterized by constitutive equations such as the Upper-Convected Maxwell Model 

(29) and the Oldroyd-B model 

(30) to track the molecule effects under shear from different driving forces. The prominent non-Newtonian features, such as shear thinning and yield stress, have played a vital role in the characterization of blood rheology, particularly with respect to the evaluation of yield stress under low shear conditions. The nature of stress measurement in blood, typically on the order of 1 mPa, is challenging due to its low magnitude. The occurrence of the CFL complicates the measurement further due to the significant decrease in apparent viscosity near the wall over time and a consequential disparity in viscosity compared to the bulk region.In addition to shear thinning viscosity and yield stress, the formation of aggregation (rouleaux) from RBCs under low shear rates also contributes to the viscoelasticity under transient flow 

(31) and thixotropy 

(32) of whole blood. Given the difficulty in evaluating viscoelastic behavior of blood under low strain magnitudes and limitations in generalized Newtonian models, the utilization of viscoelastic models is advocated to encompass elasticity and delineate non-shear components within the stress tensor. Extending from the Oldroyd-B model, Anand et al. 

(33) developed a viscoelastic model framework for adapting elasticity within blood samples and predicting non-shear stress components. However, to also address the thixotropic effects, the model developed by Horner et al. 

(34) serves as a more comprehensive approach than the viscoelastic model from Anand et al. Thixotropy 

(32) typically occurs from the structural change of the rouleaux, where low shear rate conditions induce rouleaux formation. Correspondingly, elasticity increases, while elasticity is more representative of the isolated RBCs, under high shear rate conditions. The model of Horner et al. 

(34) considers the contribution of rouleaux to shear stress, taking into account factors such as the characteristic time for Brownian aggregation, shear-induced aggregation, and shear-induced breakage. Subsequent advancements in the model from Horner et al. often revolve around refining the three aforementioned key terms for a more substantial characterization of rouleaux dynamics. Notably, this has led to the recently developed mHAWB model 

(35) and other model iterations to enhance the accuracy of elastic and viscoelastic contributions to blood rheology, including the recently improved model suggested by Armstrong et al. 


2.2.2. Numerical Methods (FDM, FEM, FVM)

Numerical simulation has become increasingly more significant in analyzing the geometry, boundary layers of flow, and nonlinearity of hyperbolic viscoelastic flow constitutive equations. CFD is a powerful and efficient tool utilizing numerical methods to solve the governing hydrodynamic equations, such as the Navier–Stokes (N–S) equation, continuity equation, and energy conservation equation, for qualitative evaluation of fluid motion dynamics under different parameters. CFD overcomes the challenge of analytically solving nonlinear forms of differential equations by employing numerical methods such as the Finite-Difference Method (FDM), Finite-Element Method (FEM), and Finite-Volume Method (FVM) to discretize and solve the partial differential equations (PDEs), allowing for qualitative reproduction of transport phenomena and experimental observations. Different numerical methods are chosen to cope with various transport systems for optimization of the accuracy of the result and control of error during the discretization process.FDM is a straightforward approach to discretizing PDEs, replacing the continuum representation of equations with a set of finite-difference equations, which is typically applied to structured grids for efficient implementation in CFD programs. 

(37) However, FDM is often limited to simple geometries such as rectangular or block-shaped geometries and struggles with curved boundaries. In contrast, FEM divides the fluid domain into small finite grids or elements, approximating PDEs through a local description of physics. 

(38) All elements contribute to a large, sparse matrix solver. However, FEM may not always provide accurate results for systems involving significant deformation and aggregation of particles like RBCs due to large distortion of grids. 

(39) FVM evaluates PDEs following the conservation laws and discretizes the selected flow domain into small but finite size control volumes, with each grid at the center of a finite volume. 

(40) The divergence theorem allows the conversion of volume integrals of PDEs with divergence terms into surface integrals of surface fluxes across cell boundaries. Due to its conservation property, FVM offers efficient outcomes when dealing with PDEs that embody mass, momentum, and energy conservation principles. Furthermore, widely accessible software packages like the OpenFOAM toolbox 

(41) include a viscoelastic solver, making it an attractive option for viscoelastic fluid flow modeling. 


2.2.3. Modeling Methods of Blood Flow Dynamics

The complexity in the blood flow simulation arises from deformability and aggregation that RBCs exhibit during their interaction with neighboring cells under different shear rate conditions induced by blood flow. Numerical models coupled with simulation programs have been applied as a groundbreaking method to predict such unique rheological behavior exhibited by RBCs and whole blood. The conventional approach of a single-phase flow simulation is often applied to blood flow simulations within large vessels possessing a moderate shear rate. However, such a method assumes the properties of plasma, RBCs and other cellular components to be evenly distributed as average density and viscosity in blood, resulting in the inability to simulate the mechanical dynamics, such as RBC aggregation under high-shear flow field, inherent in RBCs. To accurately describe the asymmetric distribution of RBC and blood flow, multiphase flow simulation, where numerical simulations of blood flows are often modeled as two immiscible phases, RBCs and blood plasma, is proposed. A common assumption is that RBCs exhibit non-Newtonian behavior while the plasma is treated as a continuous Newtonian phase.Numerous multiphase numerical models have been proposed to simulate the influence of RBCs on blood flow dynamics by different assumptions. In large-scale simulations (above the millimeter range), continuum-based methods are wildly used due to their lower computational demands. 

(43) Eulerian multiphase flow simulations offer the solution of a set of conservation equations for each separate phase and couple the phases through common pressure and interphase exchange coefficients. Xu et al. 

(44) utilized the combined finite-discrete element method (FDEM) to replicate the dynamic behavior and distortion of RBCs subjected to fluidic forces, utilizing the Johnson–Kendall–Roberts model 

(45) to define the adhesive forces of cell-to-cell interactions. The iterative direct-forcing immersed boundary method (IBM) is commonly employed in simulations of the fluid–cell interface of blood. This method effectively captures the intricacies of the thin and flexible RBC membranes within various external flow fields. 

(46) The study by Xu et al. 

(44) also adopts this approach to bridge the fluid dynamics and RBC deformation through IBM. Yoon and You utilized the Maxwell model to define the viscosity of the RBC membrane. 

(47) It was discovered that the Maxwell model could represent the stress relaxation and unloading processes of the cell. Furthermore, the reduced flexibility of an RBC under particular situations such as infection is specified, which was unattainable by the Kelvin–Voigt model 

(48) when compared to the Maxwell model in the literature. The Yeoh hyperplastic material model was also adapted to predict the nonlinear elasticity property of RBCs with FEM employed to discretize the RBC membrane using shell-type elements. Gracka et al. 

(49) developed a numerical CFD model with a finite-volume parallel solver for multiphase blood flow simulation, where an updated Maxwell viscoelasticity model and a Discrete Phase Model are adopted. In the study, the adapted IBM, based on unstructured grids, simulates the flow behavior and shape change of the RBCs through fluid-structure coupling. It was found that the hybrid Euler–Lagrange (E–L) approach 

(50) for the development of the multiphase model offered better results in the simulated CFL region in the microchannels.To study the dynamics of individual behaviors of RBCs and the consequent non-Newtonian blood flow, cell-shape-resolved computational models are often adapted. The use of the boundary integral method has become prevalent in minimizing computational expenses, particularly in the exclusive determination of fluid velocity on the surfaces of RBCs, incorporating the option of employing IBM or particle-based techniques. The cell-shaped-resolved method has enabled an examination of cell to cell interactions within complex ambient or pulsatile flow conditions 

(51) surrounding RBC membranes. Recently, Rydquist et al. 

(52) have looked to integrate statistical information from macroscale simulations to obtain a comprehensive overview of RBC behavior within the immediate proximity of the flow through introduction of respective models characterizing membrane shape definition, tension, bending stresses of RBC membranes.At a macroscopic scale, continuum models have conventionally been adapted for assessing blood flow dynamics through the application of elasticity theory and fluid dynamics. However, particle-based methods are known for their simplicity and adaptability in modeling complex multiscale fluid structures. Meshless methods, such as the boundary element method (BEM), smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH), and dissipative particle dynamics (DPD), are often used in particle-based characterization of RBCs and the surrounding fluid. By representing the fluid as discrete particles, meshless methods provide insights into the status and movement of the multiphase fluid. These methods allow for the investigation of cellular structures and microscopic interactions that affect blood rheology. Non-confronting mesh methods like IBM can also be used to couple a fluid solver such as FEM, FVM, or the Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) through membrane representation of RBCs. In comparison to conventional CFD methods, LBM has been viewed as a favorable numerical approach for solving the N–S equations and the simulation of multiphase flows. LBM exhibits the notable advantage of being amenable to high-performance parallel computing environments due to its inherently local dynamics. In contrast to DPD and SPH where RBC membranes are modeled as physically interconnected particles, LBM employs the IBM to account for the deformation dynamics of RBCs 

(53,54) under shear flows in complex channel geometries. 

(54,55) However, it is essential to acknowledge that the utilization of LBM in simulating RBC flows often entails a significant computational overhead, being a primary challenge in this context. Krüger et al. 

(56) proposed utilizing LBM as a fluid solver, IBM to couple the fluid and FEM to compute the response of membranes to deformation under immersed fluids. This approach decouples the fluid and membranes but necessitates significant computational effort due to the requirements of both meshes and particles.Despite the accuracy of current blood flow models, simulating complex conditions remains challenging because of the high computational load and cost. Balachandran Nair et al. 

(57) suggested a reduced order model of RBC under the framework of DEM, where the RBC is represented by overlapping constituent rigid spheres. The Morse potential force is adapted to account for the RBC aggregation exhibited by cell to cell interactions among RBCs at different distances. Based upon the IBM, the reduced-order RBC model is adapted to simulate blood flow transport for validation under both single and multiple RBCs with a resolved CFD-DEM solver. 

(58) In the resolved CFD-DEM model, particle sizes are larger than the grid size for a more accurate computation of the surrounding flow field. A continuous forcing approach is taken to describe the momentum source of the governing equation prior to discretization, which is different from a Direct Forcing Method (DFM). 

(59) As no body-conforming moving mesh is required, the continuous forcing approach offers lower complexity and reduced cost when compared to the DFM. Piquet et al. 

(60) highlighted the high complexity of the DFM due to its reliance on calculating an additional immersed boundary flux for the velocity field to ensure its divergence-free condition.The fluid–structure interaction (FSI) method has been advocated to connect the dynamic interplay of RBC membranes and fluid plasma within blood flow such as the coupling of continuum–particle interactions. However, such methodology is generally adapted for anatomical configurations such as arteries 

(61,62) and capillaries, 

(63) where both the structural components and the fluid domain undergo substantial deformation due to the moving boundaries. Due to the scope of the Review being blood flow simulation within microchannels of LOC devices without deformable boundaries, the Review of the FSI method will not be further carried out.In general, three numerical methods are broadly used: mesh-based, particle-based, and hybrid mesh–particle techniques, based on the spatial scale and the fundamental numerical approach, mesh-based methods tend to neglect the effects of individual particles, assuming a continuum and being efficient in terms of time and cost. However, the particle-based approach highlights more of the microscopic and mesoscopic level, where the influence of individual RBCs is considered. A review from Freund et al. 

(64) addressed the three numerical methodologies and their respective modeling approaches of RBC dynamics. Given the complex mechanics and the diverse levels of study concerning numerical simulations of blood and cellular flow, a broad spectrum of numerical methods for blood has been subjected to extensive review. 

(64−70) Ye at al. 

(65) offered an extensive review of the application of the DPD, SPH, and LBM for numerical simulations of RBC, while Rathnayaka et al. 

(67) conducted a review of the particle-based numerical modeling for liquid marbles through drawing parallels to the transport of RBCs in microchannels. A comparative analysis between conventional CFD methods and particle-based approaches for cellular and blood flow dynamic simulation can be found under the review by Arabghahestani et al. 

(66) Literature by Li et al. 

(68) and Beris et al. 

(69) offer an overview of both continuum-based models at micro/macroscales and multiscale particle-based models encompassing various length and temporal dimensions. Furthermore, these reviews deliberate upon the potential of coupling continuum-particle methods for blood plasma and RBC modeling. Arciero et al. 

(70) investigated various modeling approaches encompassing cellular interactions, such as cell to cell or plasma interactions and the individual cellular phases. A concise overview of the reviews is provided in Table 2 for reference.

Table 2. List of Reviews for Numerical Approaches Employed in Blood Flow Simulation

ReferenceNumerical methods
Li et al. (2013) (68)Continuum-based modeling (BIM), particle-based modeling (LBM, LB-FE, SPH, DPD)
Freund (2014) (64)RBC dynamic modeling (continuum-based modeling, complementary discrete microstructure modeling), blood flow dynamic modeling (FDM, IBM, LBM, particle-mesh methods, coupled boundary integral and mesh-based methods, DPD)
Ye et al. (2016) (65)DPD, SPH, LBM, coupled IBM-Smoothed DPD
Arciero et al. (2017) (70)LBM, IBM, DPD, conventional CFD Methods (FDM, FVM, FEM)
Arabghahestani et al. (2019) (66)Particle-based methods (LBM, DPD, direct simulation Monte Carlo, molecular dynamics), SPH, conventional CFD methods (FDM, FVM, FEM)
Beris et al. (2021) (69)DPD, smoothed DPD, IBM, LBM, BIM
Rathnayaka (2022) (67)SPH, CG, LBM

3. Capillary Driven Blood Flow in LOC Systems


Jump To

3.1. Capillary Driven Flow Phenomena

Capillary driven (CD) flow is a pivotal mechanism in passive microfluidic flow systems 

(9) such as the blood circulation system and LOC systems. 

(71) CD flow is essentially the movement of a liquid to flow against drag forces, where the capillary effect exerts a force on the liquid at the borders, causing a liquid–air meniscus to flow despite gravity or other drag forces. A capillary pressure drops across the liquid–air interface with surface tension in the capillary radius and contact angle. The capillary effect depends heavily on the interaction between the different properties of surface materials. Different values of contact angles can be manipulated and obtained under varying levels of surface wettability treatments to manipulate the surface properties, resulting in different CD blood delivery rates for medical diagnostic device microchannels. CD flow techniques are appealing for many LOC devices, because they require no external energy. However, due to the passive property of liquid propulsion by capillary forces and the long-term instability of surface treatments on channel walls, the adaptability of CD flow in geometrically complex LOC devices may be limited.

3.2. Theoretical and Numerical Modeling of Capillary Driven Blood Flow

3.2.1. Theoretical Basis and Assumptions of Microfluidic Flow

The study of transport phenomena regarding either blood flow driven by capillary forces or externally applied forces under microfluid systems all demands a comprehensive recognition of the significant differences in flow dynamics between microscale and macroscale. The fundamental assumptions and principles behind fluid transport at the microscale are discussed in this section. Such a comprehension will lay the groundwork for the following analysis of the theoretical basis of capillary forces and their role in blood transport in LOC systems.

At the macroscale, fluid dynamics are often strongly influenced by gravity due to considerable fluid mass. However, the high surface to volume ratio at the microscale shifts the balance toward surface forces (e.g., surface tension and viscous forces), much larger than the inertial force. This difference gives rise to transport phenomena unique to microscale fluid transport, such as the prevalence of laminar flow due to a very low Reynolds number (generally lower than 1). Moreover, the fluid in a microfluidic system is often assumed to be incompressible due to the small flow velocity, indicating constant fluid density in both space and time.Microfluidic flow behaviors are governed by the fundamental principles of mass and momentum conservation, which are encapsulated in the continuity equation and the Navier–Stokes (N–S) equation. The continuity equation describes the conservation of mass, while the N–S equation captures the spatial and temporal variations in velocity, pressure, and other physical parameters. Under the assumption of the negligible influence of gravity in microfluidic systems, the continuity equation and the Eulerian representation of the incompressible N–S equation can be expressed as follows:




(8)Here, p is the pressure, u is the fluid viscosity, 

𝝉⇀�⇀ represents the stress tensor, and F is the body force exerted by external forces if present.

3.2.2. Theoretical Basis and Modeling of Capillary Force in LOC Systems

The capillary force is often the major driving force to manipulate and transport blood without an externally applied force in LOC systems. Forces induced by the capillary effect impact the free surface of fluids and are represented not directly in the Navier–Stokes equations but through the pressure boundary conditions of the pressure term p. For hydrophilic surfaces, the liquid generally induces a contact angle between 0° and 30°, encouraging the spread and attraction of fluid under a positive cos θ condition. For this condition, the pressure drop becomes positive and generates a spontaneous flow forward. A hydrophobic solid surface repels the fluid, inducing minimal contact. Generally, hydrophobic solids exhibit a contact angle larger than 90°, inducing a negative value of cos θ. Such a value will result in a negative pressure drop and a flow in the opposite direction. The induced contact angle is often utilized to measure the wall exposure of various surface treatments on channel walls where different wettability gradients and surface tension effects for CD flows are established. Contact angles between different interfaces are obtainable through standard values or experimental methods for reference. 

(72)For the characterization of the induced force by the capillary effect, the Young–Laplace (Y–L) equation 

(73) is widely employed. In the equation, the capillary is considered a pressure boundary condition between the two interphases. Through the Y–L equation, the capillary pressure force can be determined, and subsequently, the continuity and momentum balance equations can be solved to obtain the blood filling rate. Kim et al. 

(74) studied the effects of concentration and exposure time of a nonionic surfactant, Silwet L-77, on the performance of a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) microchannel in terms of plasma and blood self-separation. The study characterized the capillary pressure force by incorporating the Y–L equation and further evaluated the effects of the changing contact angle due to different levels of applied channel wall surface treatments. The expression of the Y–L equation utilized by Kim et al. 

(74) is as follows:


(9)where σ is the surface tension of the liquid and θ



l, and θ

r are the contact angle values between the liquid and the bottom, top, left, and right walls, respectively. A numerical simulation through Coventor software is performed to evaluate the dynamic changes in the filling rate within the microchannel. The simulation results for the blood filling rate in the microchannel are expressed at a specific time stamp, shown in Figure 2. The results portray an increasing instantaneous filling rate of blood in the microchannel following the decrease in contact angle induced by a higher concentration of the nonionic surfactant treated to the microchannel wall.

Figure 2. Numerical simulation of filling rate of capillary driven blood flow under various contact angle conditions at a specific timestamp. (74) Reproduced with permission from ref (74). Copyright 2010 Elsevier.

When in contact with hydrophilic or hydrophobic surfaces, blood forms a meniscus with a contact angle due to surface tension. The Lucas–Washburn (L–W) equation 

(75) is one of the pioneering theoretical definitions for the position of the meniscus over time. In addition, the L–W equation provides the possibility for research to obtain the velocity of the blood formed meniscus through the derivation of the meniscus position. The L–W equation 

(75) can be shown below:


(10)Here L(t) represents the distance of the liquid driven by the capillary forces. However, the generalized L–W equation solely assumes the constant physical properties from a Newtonian fluid rather than considering the non-Newtonian fluid behavior of blood. Cito et al. 

(76) constructed an enhanced version of the L–W equation incorporating the power law to consider the RBC aggregation and the FL effect. The non-Newtonian fluid apparent viscosity under the Power Law model is defined as


(11)where γ̇ is the strain rate tensor defined as 

𝛾˙=12𝛾˙𝑖𝑗𝛾˙𝑗𝑖⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯⎯√�˙=12�˙���˙��. The stress tensor term τ is computed as τ = μγ̇

ij. The updated L–W equation by Cito 

(76) is expressed as


(12)where k is the flow consistency index and n is the power law index, respectively. The power law index, from the Power Law model, characterizes the extent of the non-Newtonian behavior of blood. Both the consistency and power law index rely on blood properties such as hematocrit, the appearance of the FL effect, the formation of RBC aggregates, etc. The updated L–W equation computes the location and velocity of blood flow caused by capillary forces at specified time points within the LOC devices, taking into account the effects of blood flow characteristics such as RBC aggregation and the FL effect on dynamic blood viscosity.Apart from the blood flow behaviors triggered by inherent blood properties, unique flow conditions driven by capillary forces that are portrayed under different microchannel geometries also hold crucial implications for CD blood delivery. Berthier et al. 

(77) studied the spontaneous Concus–Finn condition, the condition to initiate the spontaneous capillary flow within a V-groove microchannel, as shown in Figure 3(a) both experimentally and numerically. Through experimental studies, the spontaneous Concus–Finn filament development of capillary driven blood flow is observed, as shown in Figure 3(b), while the dynamic development of blood flow is numerically simulated through CFD simulation.

Figure 3. (a) Sketch of the cross-section of Berthier’s V-groove microchannel, (b) experimental view of blood in the V-groove microchannel, (78) (c) illustration of the dynamic change of the extension of filament from FLOW 3D under capillary flow at three increasing time intervals. (78) Reproduced with permission from ref (78). Copyright 2014 Elsevier.

Berthier et al. 

(77) characterized the contact angle needed for the initiation of the capillary driving force at a zero-inlet pressure, through the half-angle (α) of the V-groove geometry layout, and its relation to the Concus–Finn filament as shown below:


(13)Three possible regimes were concluded based on the contact angle value for the initiation of flow and development of Concus–Finn filament:

𝜃>𝜃1𝜃1>𝜃>𝜃0𝜃0no SCFSCF without a Concus−Finn filamentSCF without a Concus−Finn filament{�>�1no SCF�1>�>�0SCF without a Concus−Finn filament�0SCF without a Concus−Finn filament

(14)Under Newton’s Law, the force balance with low Reynolds and Capillary numbers results in the neglect of inertial terms. The force balance between the capillary forces and the viscous force induced by the channel wall is proposed to derive the analytical fluid velocity. This relation between the two forces offers insights into the average flow velocity and the penetration distance function dependent on time. The apparent blood viscosity is defined by Berthier et al. 

(78) through Casson’s law, 

(23) given in eq 1. The research used the FLOW-3D program from Flow Science Inc. software, which solves transient, free-surface problems using the FDM in multiple dimensions. The Volume of Fluid (VOF) method 

(79) is utilized to locate and track the dynamic extension of filament throughout the advancing interface within the channel ahead of the main flow at three progressing time stamps, as depicted in Figure 3(c).

4. Electro-osmotic Flow (EOF) in LOC Systems


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The utilization of external forces, such as electric fields, has significantly broadened the possibility of manipulating microfluidic flow in LOC systems. 

(80) Externally applied electric field forces induce a fluid flow from the movement of ions in fluid terms as the “electro-osmotic flow” (EOF).Unique transport phenomena, such as enhanced flow velocity and flow instability, induced by non-Newtonian fluids, particularly viscoelastic fluids, under EOF, have sparked considerable interest in microfluidic devices with simple or complicated geometries within channels. 

(81) However, compared to the study of Newtonian fluids and even other electro-osmotic viscoelastic fluid flows, the literature focusing on the theoretical and numerical modeling of electro-osmotic blood flow is limited due to the complexity of blood properties. Consequently, to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the complex blood flow behavior under EOF, theoretical and numerical studies of the transport phenomena in the EOF section will be based on the studies of different viscoelastic fluids under EOF rather than that of blood specifically. Despite this limitation, we believe these studies offer valuable insights that can help understand the complex behavior of blood flow under EOF.

4.1. EOF Phenomena

Electro-osmotic flow occurs at the interface between the microchannel wall and bulk phase solution. When in contact with the bulk phase, solution ions are absorbed or dissociated at the solid–liquid interface, resulting in the formation of a charge layer, as shown in Figure 4. This charged channel surface wall interacts with both negative and positive ions in the bulk sample, causing repulsion and attraction forces to create a thin layer of immobilized counterions, known as the Stern layer. The induced electric potential from the wall gradually decreases with an increase in the distance from the wall. The Stern layer potential, commonly termed the zeta potential, controls the intensity of the electrostatic interactions between mobile counterions and, consequently, the drag force from the applied electric field. Next to the Stern layer is the diffuse mobile layer, mainly composed of a mobile counterion. These two layers constitute the “electrical double layer” (EDL), the thickness of which is directly proportional to the ionic strength (concentration) of the bulk fluid. The relationship between the two parameters is characterized by a Debye length (λ

D), expressed as


(15)where ϵ is the permittivity of the electrolyte solution, k

B is the Boltzmann constant, T is the electron temperature, Z is the integer valence number, e is the elementary charge, and c

0 is the ionic density.

Figure 4. Schematic diagram of an electro-osmotic flow in a microchannel with negative surface charge. (82) Reproduced with permission from ref (82). Copyright 2012 Woodhead Publishing.

When an electric field is applied perpendicular to the EDL, viscous drag is generated due to the movement of excess ions in the EDL. Electro-osmotic forces can be attributed to the externally applied electric potential (ϕ) and the zeta potential, the system wall induced potential by charged walls (ψ). As illustrated in Figure 4, the majority of ions in the bulk phase have a uniform velocity profile, except for a shear rate condition confined within an extremely thin Stern layer. Therefore, EOF displays a unique characteristic of a “near flat” or plug flow velocity profile, different from the parabolic flow typically induced by pressure-driven microfluidic flow (Hagen–Poiseuille flow). The plug-shaped velocity profile of the EOF possesses a high shear rate above the Stern layer.Overall, the EOF velocity magnitude is typically proportional to the Debye Length (λ

D), zeta potential, and magnitude of the externally applied electric field, while a more viscous liquid reduces the EOF velocity.

4.2. Modeling on Electro-osmotic Viscoelastic Fluid Flow

4.2.1. Theoretical Basis of EOF Mechanisms

The EOF of an incompressible viscoelastic fluid is commonly governed by the continuity and incompressible N–S equations, as shown in eqs 7 and 8, where the stress tensor and the electrostatic force term are coupled. The electro-osmotic body force term F, representing the body force exerted by the externally applied electric force, is defined as 

𝐹⇀=𝑝𝐸𝐸⇀�⇀=���⇀, where ρ

E and 

𝐸⇀�⇀ are the net electric charge density and the applied external electric field, respectively.Numerous models are established to theoretically study the externally applied electric potential and the system wall induced potential by charged walls. The following Laplace equation, expressed as eq 16, is generally adapted and solved to calculate the externally applied potential (ϕ).


(16)Ion diffusion under applied electric fields, together with mass transport resulting from convection and diffusion, transports ionic solutions in bulk flow under electrokinetic processes. The Nernst–Planck equation can describe these transport methods, including convection, diffusion, and electro-diffusion. Therefore, the Nernst–Planck equation is used to determine the distribution of the ions within the electrolyte. The electric potential induced by the charged channel walls follows the Poisson–Nernst–Plank (PNP) equation, which can be written as eq 17.


(17)where D


i, and z

i are the diffusion coefficient, ionic concentration, and ionic valence of the ionic species I, respectively. However, due to the high nonlinearity and numerical stiffness introduced by different lengths and time scales from the PNP equations, the Poisson–Boltzmann (PB) model is often considered the major simplified method of the PNP equation to characterize the potential distribution of the EDL region in microchannels. In the PB model, it is assumed that the ionic species in the fluid follow the Boltzmann distribution. This model is typically valid for steady-state problems where charge transport can be considered negligible, the EDLs do not overlap with each other, and the intrinsic potentials are low. It provides a simplified representation of the potential distribution in the EDL region. The PB equation governing the EDL electric potential distribution is described as


(18)where n

0 is the ion bulk concentration, z is the ionic valence, and ε

0 is the electric permittivity in the vacuum. Under low electric potential conditions, an even further simplified model to illustrate the EOF phenomena is the Debye–Hückel (DH) model. The DH model is derived by obtaining a charge density term by expanding the exponential term of the Boltzmann equation in a Taylor series.

4.2.2. EOF Modeling for Viscoelastic Fluids

Many studies through numerical modeling were performed to obtain a deeper understanding of the effect exhibited by externally applied electric fields on viscoelastic flow in microchannels under various geometrical designs. Bello et al. 

(83) found that methylcellulose solution, a non-Newtonian polymer solution, resulted in stronger electro-osmotic mobility in experiments when compared to the predictions by the Helmholtz–Smoluchowski equation, which is commonly used to define the velocity of EOF of a Newtonian fluid. Being one of the pioneers to identify the discrepancies between the EOF of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids, Bello et al. attributed such discrepancies to the presence of a very high shear rate in the EDL, resulting in a change in the orientation of the polymer molecules. Park and Lee 

(84) utilized the FVM to solve the PB equation for the characterization of the electric field induced force. In the study, the concept of fractional calculus for the Oldroyd-B model was adapted to illustrate the elastic and memory effects of viscoelastic fluids in a straight microchannel They observed that fluid elasticity and increased ratio of viscoelastic fluid contribution to overall fluid viscosity had a significant impact on the volumetric flow rate and sensitivity of velocity to electric field strength compared to Newtonian fluids. Afonso et al. 

(85) derived an analytical expression for EOF of viscoelastic fluid between parallel plates using the DH model to account for a zeta potential condition below 25 mV. The study established the understanding of the electro-osmotic viscoelastic fluid flow under low zeta potential conditions. Apart from the electrokinetic forces, pressure forces can also be coupled with EOF to generate a unique fluid flow behavior within the microchannel. Sousa et al. 

(86) analytically studied the flow of a standard viscoelastic solution by combining the pressure gradient force with an externally applied electric force. It was found that, at a near wall skimming layer and the outer layer away from the wall, macromolecules migrating away from surface walls in viscoelastic fluids are observed. In the study, the Phan-Thien Tanner (PTT) constitutive model is utilized to characterize the viscoelastic properties of the solution. The approach is found to be valid when the EDL is much thinner than the skimming layer under an enhanced flow rate. Zhao and Yang 

(87) solved the PB equation and Carreau model for the characterization of the EOF mechanism and non-Newtonian fluid respectively through the FEM. The numerical results depict that, different from the EOF of Newtonian fluids, non-Newtonian fluids led to an increase of electro-osmotic mobility for shear thinning fluids but the opposite for shear thickening fluids.Like other fluid transport driving forces, EOF within unique geometrical layouts also portrays unique transport phenomena. Pimenta and Alves 

(88) utilized the FVM to perform numerical simulations of the EOF of viscoelastic fluids considering the PB equation and the Oldroyd-B model, in a cross-slot and flow-focusing microdevices. It was found that electroelastic instabilities are formed due to the development of large stresses inside the EDL with streamlined curvature at geometry corners. Bezerra et al. 

(89) used the FDM to numerically analyze the vortex formation and flow instability from an electro-osmotic non-Newtonian fluid flow in a microchannel with a nozzle geometry and parallel wall geometry setting. The PNP equation is utilized to characterize the charge motion in the EOF and the PTT model for non-Newtonian flow characterization. A constriction geometry is commonly utilized in blood flow adapted in LOC systems due to the change in blood flow behavior under narrow dimensions in a microchannel. Ji et al. 

(90) recently studied the EOF of viscoelastic fluid in a constriction microchannel connected by two relatively big reservoirs on both ends (as seen in Figure 5) filled with the polyacrylamide polymer solution, a viscoelastic fluid, and an incompressible monovalent binary electrolyte solution KCl.

Figure 5. Schematic diagram of a negatively charged constriction microchannel connected to two reservoirs at both ends. An electro-osmotic flow is induced in the system by the induced potential difference between the anode and cathode. (90) Reproduced with permission from ref (90). Copyright 2021 The Authors, under the terms of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) License

In studying the EOF of viscoelastic fluids, the Oldroyd-B model is often utilized to characterize the polymeric stress tensor and the deformation rate of the fluid. The Oldroyd-B model is expressed as follows:


(19)where η

p, λ, c, and I represent the polymer dynamic viscosity, polymer relaxation time, symmetric conformation tensor of the polymer molecules, and the identity matrix, respectively.A log-conformation tensor approach is taken to prevent convergence difficulty induced by the viscoelastic properties. The conformation tensor (c) in the polymeric stress tensor term is redefined by a new tensor (Θ) based on the natural logarithm of the c. The new tensor is defined as


(20)in which Λ is the diagonal matrix and R is the orthogonal matrix.Under the new conformation tensor, the induced EOF of a viscoelastic fluid is governed by the continuity and N–S equations adapting the Oldroyd-B model, which is expressed as


(21)where Ω and B represent the anti-symmetric matrix and the symmetric traceless matrix of the decomposition of the velocity gradient tensor ∇u, respectively. The conformation tensor can be recovered by c = exp(Θ). The PB model and Laplace equation are utilized to characterize the charged channel wall induced potential and the externally applied potential.The governing equations are numerically solved through the FVM by RheoTool, 

(42) an open-source viscoelastic EOF solver on the OpenFOAM platform. A SIMPLEC (Semi-Implicit Method for Pressure Linked Equations-Consistent) algorithm was applied to solve the velocity-pressure coupling. The pressure field and velocity field were computed by the PCG (Preconditioned Conjugate Gradient) solver and the PBiCG (Preconditioned Biconjugate Gradient) solver, respectively.Ranging magnitudes of an applied electric field or fluid concentration induce both different streamlines and velocity magnitudes at various locations and times of the microchannel. In the study performed by Ji et al., 

(90) notable fluctuation of streamlines and vortex formation is formed at the upper stream entrance of the constriction as shown in Figure 6(a) and (b), respectively, due to the increase of electrokinetic effect, which is seen as a result of the increase in polymeric stress (τ


(90) The contraction geometry enhances the EOF velocity within the constriction channel under high E

app condition (600 V/cm). Such phenomena can be attributed to the dependence of electro-osmotic viscoelastic fluid flow on the system wall surface and bulk fluid properties. 


Figure 6. Schematic diagram of vortex formation and streamlines of EOF depicting flow instability at (a) 1.71 s and (b) 1.75 s. Spatial distribution of the elastic normal stress at (c) high Eapp condition. Streamline of an electro-osmotic flow under Eapp of 600 V/cm (90) for (d) non-Newtonian and (e) Newtonian fluid through a constriction geometry. Reproduced with permission from ref (90). Copyright 2021 The Authors, under the terms of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) License

As elastic normal stress exceeds the local shear stress, flow instability and vortex formation occur. The induced elastic stress under EOF not only enhances the instability of the flow but often generates an irregular secondary flow leading to strong disturbance. 

(92) It is also vital to consider the effect of the constriction layout of microchannels on the alteration of the field strength within the system. The contraction geometry enhances a larger electric field strength compared with other locations of the channel outside the constriction region, resulting in a higher velocity gradient and stronger extension on the polymer within the viscoelastic solution. Following the high shear flow condition, a higher magnitude of stretch for polymer molecules in viscoelastic fluids exhibits larger elastic stresses and enhancement of vortex formation at the region. 

(93)As shown in Figure 6(c), significant elastic normal stress occurs at the inlet of the constriction microchannel. Such occurrence of a polymeric flow can be attributed to the dominating elongational flow, giving rise to high deformation of the polymers within the viscoelastic fluid flow, resulting in higher elastic stress from the polymers. Such phenomena at the entrance result in the difference in velocity streamline as circled in Figure 6(d) compared to that of the Newtonian fluid at the constriction entrance in Figure 6(e). 

(90) The difference between the Newtonian and polymer solution at the exit, as circled in Figure 6(d) and (e), can be attributed to the extrudate swell effect of polymers 

(94) within the viscoelastic fluid flow. The extrudate swell effect illustrates that, as polymers emerge from the constriction exit, they tend to contract in the flow direction and grow in the normal direction, resulting in an extrudate diameter greater than the channel size. The deformation of polymers within the polymeric flow at both the entrance and exit of the contraction channel facilitates the change in shear stress conditions of the flow, leading to the alteration in streamlines of flows for each region.

4.3. EOF Applications in LOC Systems

4.3.1. Mixing in LOC Systems

Rather than relying on the micromixing controlled by molecular diffusion under low Reynolds number conditions, active mixers actively leverage convective instability and vortex formation induced by electro-osmotic flows from alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC) electric fields. Such adaptation is recognized as significant breakthroughs for promotion of fluid mixing in chemical and biological applications such as drug delivery, medical diagnostics, chemical synthesis, and so on. 

(95)Many researchers proposed novel designs of electro-osmosis micromixers coupled with numerical simulations in conjunction with experimental findings to increase their understanding of the role of flow instability and vortex formation in the mixing process under electrokinetic phenomena. Matsubara and Narumi 

(96) numerically modeled the mixing process in a microchannel with four electrodes on each side of the microchannel wall, which generated a disruption through unstable electro-osmotic vortices. It was found that particle mixing was sensitive to both the convection effect induced by the main and secondary vortex within the micromixer and the change in oscillation frequency caused by the supplied AC voltage when the Reynolds number was varied. Qaderi et al. 

(97) adapted the PNP equation to numerically study the effect of the geometry and zeta potential configuration of the microchannel on the mixing process with a combined electro-osmotic pressure driven flow. It was reported that the application of heterogeneous zeta potential configuration enhances the mixing efficiency by around 23% while the height of the hurdles increases the mixing efficiency at most 48.1%. Cho et al. 

(98) utilized the PB model and Laplace equation to numerically simulate the electro-osmotic non-Newtonian fluid mixing process within a wavy and block layout of microchannel walls. The Power Law model is adapted to describe the fluid rheological characteristic. It was found that shear-thinning fluids possess a higher volumetric flow rate, which could result in poorer mixing efficiency compared to that of Newtonian fluids. Numerous studies have revealed that flow instability and vortex generation, in particular secondary vortices produced by barriers or greater magnitudes of heterogeneous zeta potential distribution, enhance mixing by increasing bulk flow velocity and reducing flow distance.To better understand the mechanism of disturbance formed in the system due to externally applied forces, known as electrokinetic instability, literature often utilize the Rayleigh (Ra) number, 

(1) as described below:


(22)where γ is the conductivity ratio of the two streams and can be written as 

𝛾=𝜎el,H𝜎el,L�=�el,H�el,L. The Ra number characterizes the ratio between electroviscous and electro-osmotic flow. A high Ra

v value often results in good mixing. It is evident that fluid properties such as the conductivity (σ) of the two streams play a key role in the formation of disturbances to enhance mixing in microsystems. At the same time, electrokinetic parameters like the zeta potential (ζ) in the Ra number is critical in the characterization of electro-osmotic velocity and a slip boundary condition at the microchannel wall.To understand the mixing result along the channel, the concentration field can be defined and simulated under the assumption of steady state conditions and constant diffusion coefficient for each of the working fluid within the system through the convection–diffusion equation as below:


(23)where c

i is the species concentration of species i and D

i is the diffusion coefficient of the corresponding species.The standard deviation of concentration (σ

sd) can be adapted to evaluate the mixing quality of the system. 

(97) The standard deviation for concentration at a specific portion of the channel may be calculated using the equation below:


(24)where C*(y*) and C

m are the non-dimensional concentration profile and the mean concentration at the portion, respectively. C* is the non-dimensional concentration and can be calculated as 

𝐶∗=𝐶𝐶ref�*=��ref, where C

ref is the reference concentration defined as the bulk solution concentration. The mean concentration profile can be calculated as 

𝐶m=∫10(𝐶∗(𝑦∗)d𝑦∗∫10d𝑦∗�m=∫01(�*(�*)d�*∫01d�*. With the standard deviation of concentration, the mixing efficiency 

(97) can then be calculated as below:


(25)where σ

sd,0 is the standard derivation of the case of no mixing. The value of the mixing efficiency is typically utilized in conjunction with the simulated flow field and concentration field to explore the effect of geometrical and electrokinetic parameters on the optimization of the mixing results.

5. Summary


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5.1. Conclusion

Viscoelastic fluids such as blood flow in LOC systems are an essential topic to proceed with diagnostic analysis and research through microdevices in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. The complex blood flow behavior is tightly controlled by the viscoelastic characteristics of blood such as the dynamic viscosity and the elastic property of RBCs under various shear rate conditions. Furthermore, the flow behaviors under varied driving forces promote an array of microfluidic transport phenomena that are critical to the management of blood flow and other adapted viscoelastic fluids in LOC systems. This review addressed the blood flow phenomena, the complicated interplay between shear rate and blood flow behaviors, and their numerical modeling under LOC systems through the lens of the viscoelasticity characteristic. Furthermore, a theoretical understanding of capillary forces and externally applied electric forces leads to an in-depth investigation of the relationship between blood flow patterns and the key parameters of the two driving forces, the latter of which is introduced through the lens of viscoelastic fluids, coupling numerical modeling to improve the knowledge of blood flow manipulation in LOC systems. The flow disturbances triggered by the EOF of viscoelastic fluids and their impact on blood flow patterns have been deeply investigated due to their important role and applications in LOC devices. Continuous advancements of various numerical modeling methods with experimental findings through more efficient and less computationally heavy methods have served as an encouraging sign of establishing more accurate illustrations of the mechanisms for multiphase blood and other viscoelastic fluid flow transport phenomena driven by various forces. Such progress is fundamental for the manipulation of unique transport phenomena, such as the generated disturbances, to optimize functionalities offered by microdevices in LOC systems.

The following section will provide further insights into the employment of studied blood transport phenomena to improve the functionality of micro devices adapting LOC technology. A discussion of the novel roles that external driving forces play in microfluidic flow behaviors is also provided. Limitations in the computational modeling of blood flow and electrokinetic phenomena in LOC systems will also be emphasized, which may provide valuable insights for future research endeavors. These discussions aim to provide guidance and opportunities for new paths in the ongoing development of LOC devices that adapt blood flow.

5.2. Future Directions

5.2.1. Electro-osmosis Mixing in LOC Systems

Despite substantial research, mixing results through flow instability and vortex formation phenomena induced by electro-osmotic mixing still deviate from the effective mixing results offered by chaotic mixing results such as those seen in turbulent flows. However, recent discoveries of a mixing phenomenon that is generally observed under turbulent flows are found within electro-osmosis micromixers under low Reynolds number conditions. Zhao 

(99) experimentally discovered a rapid mixing process in an AC applied micromixer, where the power spectrum of concentration under an applied voltage of 20 V

p-p induces a −5/3 slope within a frequency range. This value of the slope is considered as the O–C spectrum in macroflows, which is often visible under relatively high Re conditions, such as the Taylor microscale Reynolds number Re > 500 in turbulent flows. 

(100) However, the Re value in the studied system is less than 1 at the specific location and applied voltage. A secondary flow is also suggested to occur close to microchannel walls, being attributed to the increase of convective instability within the system.Despite the experimental phenomenon proposed by Zhao et al., 

(99) the range of effects induced by vital parameters of an EOF mixing system on the enhanced mixing results and mechanisms of disturbance generated by the turbulent-like flow instability is not further characterized. Such a gap in knowledge may hinder the adaptability and commercialization of the discovery of micromixers. One of the parameters for further evaluation is the conductivity gradient of the fluid flow. A relatively strong conductivity gradient (5000:1) was adopted in the system due to the conductive properties of the two fluids. The high conductivity gradients may contribute to the relatively large Rayleigh number and differences in EDL layer thickness, resulting in an unusual disturbance in laminar flow conditions and enhanced mixing results. However, high conductivity gradients are not always achievable by the working fluids due to diverse fluid properties. The reliance on turbulent-like phenomena and rapid mixing results in a large conductivity gradient should be established to prevent the limited application of fluids for the mixing system. In addition, the proposed system utilizes distinct zeta potential distributions at the top and bottom walls due to their difference in material choices, which may be attributed to the flow instability phenomena. Further studies should be made on varying zeta potential magnitude and distribution to evaluate their effect on the slip boundary conditions of the flow and the large shear rate condition close to the channel wall of EOF. Such a study can potentially offer an optimized condition in zeta potential magnitude through material choices and geometrical layout of the zeta potential for better mixing results and manipulation of mixing fluid dynamics. The two vital parameters mentioned above can be varied with the aid of numerical simulation to understand the effect of parameters on the interaction between electro-osmotic forces and electroviscous forces. At the same time, the relationship of developed streamlines of the simulated velocity and concentration field, following their relationship with the mixing results, under the impact of these key parameters can foster more insight into the range of impact that the two parameters have on the proposed phenomena and the microfluidic dynamic principles of disturbances.

In addition, many of the current investigations of electrokinetic mixers commonly emphasize the fluid dynamics of mixing for Newtonian fluids, while the utilization of biofluids, primarily viscoelastic fluids such as blood, and their distinctive response under shear forces in these novel mixing processes of LOC systems are significantly less studied. To develop more compatible microdevice designs and efficient mixing outcomes for the biomedical industry, it is necessary to fill the knowledge gaps in the literature on electro-osmotic mixing for biofluids, where properties of elasticity, dynamic viscosity, and intricate relationship with shear flow from the fluid are further considered.

5.2.2. Electro-osmosis Separation in LOC Systems

Particle separation in LOC devices, particularly in biological research and diagnostics, is another area where disturbances may play a significant role in optimization. 

(101) Plasma analysis in LOC systems under precise control of blood flow phenomena and blood/plasma separation procedures can detect vital information about infectious diseases from particular antibodies and foreign nucleic acids for medical treatments, diagnostics, and research, 

(102) offering more efficient results and simple operating procedures compared to that of the traditional centrifugation method for blood and plasma separation. However, the adaptability of LOC devices for blood and plasma separation is often hindered by microchannel clogging, where flow velocity and plasma yield from LOC devices is reduced due to occasional RBC migration and aggregation at the filtration entrance of microdevices. 

(103)It is important to note that the EOF induces flow instability close to microchannel walls, which may provide further solutions to clogging for the separation process of the LOC systems. Mohammadi et al. 

(104) offered an anti-clogging effect of RBCs at the blood and plasma separating device filtration entry, adjacent to the surface wall, through RBC disaggregation under high shear rate conditions generated by a forward and reverse EOF direction.

Further theoretical and numerical research can be conducted to characterize the effect of high shear rate conditions near microchannel walls toward the detachment of binding blood cells on surfaces and the reversibility of aggregation. Through numerical modeling with varying electrokinetic parameters to induce different degrees of disturbances or shear conditions at channel walls, it may be possible to optimize and better understand the process of disrupting the forces that bind cells to surface walls and aggregated cells at filtration pores. RBCs that migrate close to microchannel walls are often attracted by the adhesion force between the RBC and the solid surface originating from the van der Waals forces. Following RBC migration and attachment by adhesive forces adjacent to the microchannel walls as shown in Figure 7, the increase in viscosity at the region causes a lower shear condition and encourages RBC aggregation (cell–cell interaction), which clogs filtering pores or microchannels and reduces flow velocity at filtration region. Both the impact that shear forces and disturbances may induce on cell binding forces with surface walls and other cells leading to aggregation may suggest further characterization. Kinetic parameters such as activation energy and the rate-determining step for cell binding composition attachment and detachment should be considered for modeling the dynamics of RBCs and blood flows under external forces in LOC separation devices.

Figure 7. Schematic representations of clogging at a microchannel pore following the sequence of RBC migration, cell attachment to channel walls, and aggregation. (105) Reproduced with permission from ref (105). Copyright 2018 The Authors under the terms of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) License

5.2.3. Relationship between External Forces and Microfluidic Systems

In blood flow, a thicker CFL suggests a lower blood viscosity, suggesting a complex relationship between shear stress and shear rate, affecting the blood viscosity and blood flow. Despite some experimental and numerical studies on electro-osmotic non-Newtonian fluid flow, limited literature has performed an in-depth investigation of the role that applied electric forces and other external forces could play in the process of CFL formation. Additional studies on how shear rates from external forces affect CFL formation and microfluidic flow dynamics can shed light on the mechanism of the contribution induced by external driving forces to the development of a separate phase of layer, similar to CFL, close to the microchannel walls and distinct from the surrounding fluid within the system, then influencing microfluidic flow dynamics.One of the mechanisms of phenomena to be explored is the formation of the Exclusion Zone (EZ) region following a “Self-Induced Flow” (SIF) phenomenon discovered by Li and Pollack, 

(106) as shown in Figure 8(a) and (b), respectively. A spontaneous sustained axial flow is observed when hydrophilic materials are immersed in water, resulting in the buildup of a negative layer of charges, defined as the EZ, after water molecules absorb infrared radiation (IR) energy and break down into H and OH


Figure 8. Schematic representations of (a) the Exclusion Zone region and (b) the Self Induced Flow through visualization of microsphere movement within a microchannel. (106) Reproduced with permission from ref (106). Copyright 2020 The Authors under the terms of the Creative Commons (CC BY 4.0) License

Despite the finding of such a phenomenon, the specific mechanism and role of IR energy have yet to be defined for the process of EZ development. To further develop an understanding of the role of IR energy in such phenomena, a feasible study may be seen through the lens of the relationships between external forces and microfluidic flow. In the phenomena, the increase of SIF velocity under a rise of IR radiation resonant characteristics is shown in the participation of the external electric field near the microchannel walls under electro-osmotic viscoelastic fluid flow systems. The buildup of negative charges at the hydrophilic surfaces in EZ is analogous to the mechanism of electrical double layer formation. Indeed, research has initiated the exploration of the core mechanisms for EZ formation through the lens of the electrokinetic phenomena. 

(107) Such a similarity of the role of IR energy and the transport phenomena of SIF with electrokinetic phenomena paves the way for the definition of the unknown SIF phenomena and EZ formation. Furthermore, Li and Pollack 

(106) suggest whether CFL formation might contribute to a SIF of blood using solely IR radiation, a commonly available source of energy in nature, as an external driving force. The proposition may be proven feasible with the presence of the CFL region next to the negatively charged hydrophilic endothelial glycocalyx layer, coating the luminal side of blood vessels. 

(108) Further research can dive into the resonating characteristics between the formation of the CFL region next to the hydrophilic endothelial glycocalyx layer and that of the EZ formation close to hydrophilic microchannel walls. Indeed, an increase in IR energy is known to rapidly accelerate EZ formation and SIF velocity, depicting similarity to the increase in the magnitude of electric field forces and greater shear rates at microchannel walls affecting CFL formation and EOF velocity. Such correlation depicts a future direction in whether SIF blood flow can be observed and characterized theoretically further through the lens of the relationship between blood flow and shear forces exhibited by external energy.

The intricate link between the CFL and external forces, more specifically the externally applied electric field, can receive further attention to provide a more complete framework for the mechanisms between IR radiation and EZ formation. Such characterization may also contribute to a greater comprehension of the role IR can play in CFL formation next to the endothelial glycocalyx layer as well as its role as a driving force to propel blood flow, similar to the SIF, but without the commonly assumed pressure force from heart contraction as a source of driving force.

5.3. Challenges

Although there have been significant improvements in blood flow modeling under LOC systems over the past decade, there are still notable constraints that may require special attention for numerical simulation applications to benefit the adaptability of the designs and functionalities of LOC devices. Several points that require special attention are mentioned below:

1.The majority of CFD models operate under the relationship between the viscoelasticity of blood and the shear rate conditions of flow. The relative effect exhibited by the presence of highly populated RBCs in whole blood and their forces amongst the cells themselves under complex flows often remains unclearly defined. Furthermore, the full range of cell populations in whole blood requires a much more computational load for numerical modeling. Therefore, a vital goal for future research is to evaluate a reduced modeling method where the impact of cell–cell interaction on the viscoelastic property of blood is considered.
2.Current computational methods on hemodynamics rely on continuum models based upon non-Newtonian rheology at the macroscale rather than at molecular and cellular levels. Careful considerations should be made for the development of a constructive framework for the physical and temporal scales of micro/nanoscale systems to evaluate the intricate relationship between fluid driving forces, dynamic viscosity, and elasticity.
3.Viscoelastic fluids under the impact of externally applied electric forces often deviate from the assumptions of no-slip boundary conditions due to the unique flow conditions induced by externally applied forces. Furthermore, the mechanism of vortex formation and viscoelastic flow instability at laminar flow conditions should be better defined through the lens of the microfluidic flow phenomenon to optimize the prediction of viscoelastic flow across different geometrical layouts. Mathematical models and numerical methods are needed to better predict such disturbance caused by external forces and the viscoelasticity of fluids at such a small scale.
4.Under practical situations, zeta potential distribution at channel walls frequently deviates from the common assumption of a constant distribution because of manufacturing faults or inherent surface charges prior to the introduction of electrokinetic influence. These discrepancies frequently lead to inconsistent surface potential distribution, such as excess positive ions at relatively more negatively charged walls. Accordingly, unpredicted vortex formation and flow instability may occur. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to these discrepancies and how they could trigger the transport process and unexpected results of a microdevice.

Author Information


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  • Corresponding Authors
    • Zhe Chen – Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, P. R. China;  Email:
    • Bo Ouyang – Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, P. R. China;  Email:
    • Zheng-Hong Luo – Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, P. R. China;  Orcid; Email:
  • Authors
    • Bin-Jie Lai – Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, P. R. China;  Orcid
    • Li-Tao Zhu – Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Metal Matrix Composites, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, P. R. China;  Orcid
  • NotesThe authors declare no competing financial interest.



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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 22238005) and the Postdoctoral Research Foundation of China (No. GZC20231576).



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Microfluidicsthe field of technological and scientific study that investigates fluid flow in channels with dimensions between 1 and 1000 μm
Lab-on-a-Chip Technologythe field of research and technological development aimed at integrating the micro/nanofluidic characteristics to conduct laboratory processes on handheld devices
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)the method utilizing computational abilities to predict physical fluid flow behaviors mathematically through solving the governing equations of corresponding fluid flows
Shear Ratethe rate of change in velocity where one layer of fluid moves past the adjacent layer
Viscoelasticitythe property holding both elasticity and viscosity characteristics relying on the magnitude of applied shear stress and time-dependent strain
Electro-osmosisthe flow of fluid under an applied electric field when charged solid surface is in contact with the bulk fluid
Vortexthe rotating motion of a fluid revolving an axis line



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Figure 4. Rectangular stepped spillway with (a) three baffle arrangement (b) five baffle arrangement

Prediction of Energy Dissipation over Stepped Spillwaywith Baffles Using Machine Learning Techniques

Saurabh Pujari*
, Vijay Kaushik, S. Anbu Kumar
Department of Civil Engineering, Delhi Technological University, India
Received February 23, 2023; Revised April 25, 2023; Accepted June 11, 2023
Cite This Paper in the Following Citation Styles
(a): [1] Saurabh Pujari, Vijay Kaushik, S. Anbu Kumar , “Prediction of Energy Dissipation over Stepped Spillway with
Baffles Using Machine Learning Techniques,” Civil Engineering and Architecture, Vol. 11, No. 5, pp. 2377 – 2391, 2023.
DOI: 10.13189/cea.2023.110510.
(b): Saurabh Pujari, Vijay Kaushik, S. Anbu Kumar (2023). Prediction of Energy Dissipation over Stepped Spillway with
Baffles Using Machine Learning Techniques. Civil Engineering and Architecture, 11(5), 2377 – 2391. DOI:
Copyright©2023 by authors, all rights reserved. Authors agree that this article remains permanently open access under
the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International License


In river engineering, the stepped spillway of a dam is an important component that may be used in various ways. It is necessary to conduct research dealing with flood control in order to investigate the method, in which energy is lost along the tiered spillways. In the past, several research projects on stepped spillways without baffles have been carried out utilizing a range of research approaches. In the present study, machine learning techniques such as Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Regression Tree (RT) are used to analyze the energy dissipation on rectangular stepped spillways that make use of baffles in a variety of configurations and at a range of channel slopes. The results of many experiments indicate that the amount of energy that is lost increases with the number of baffles that are present in flat channels with slopes and rises. In order to evaluate the efficiency and usefulness of the suggested model, the statistical indices that were developed for the experimental research are used to validate the models that were created for the study. The findings indicate that the suggested SVM model properly predicted the amount of energy that was dissipated when contrasted with RT and the method that had been developed in the past. This study verifies the use of machine learning techniques in this industry, and it is unique in that it anticipates energy dissipation along stepped spillways utilizing baffle designs. In addition, this work validates the use of machine learning methods in this field.


Rectangular Stepped Spillways, Baffle Arrangements, Channel Slope, Support Vector Machine (SVM), Regression Tree (RT)


To regulate water flows downstream of a dam, a spillway structure is employed, with stepped spillways preventing water from overflowing and causing damage to the dam. These spillways consist of a channel with built-in steps or drops. Flow patterns observed include nappe flow, transition flow, and skimming flow [1]. Numerous scholars have looked at the energy dissipation in stepped spillways [2-4]. Boes and Hager [5] looked at the benefits of stepped spillways, such as their simplicity of construction, less danger of cavitation, and smaller stilling basins at downstream dam toes owing to considerable energy loss along the chute. Hazzab and Chafic [7] conducted an experimental study on energy dissipation in stepped spillways and reported on flow configurations. Additionally, the Manksvill dam spillway was examined using a 1:25 scale physical wooden model [6]. For moderately inclined stepped channels, Stefan and Chanson [8] explored air-water flow measurements. Daniel [9] discussed how the existence of steps and step heights affect stepped spillways’ ability to dissipate energy. A comparison of the smooth invert chute flow with the self aerated stepped spillway. The energy dissipation in stepped spillways was investigated using various methods. Katourany [10] compared experimental findings to conventional USBR outcomes to examine the effects of different baffle widths, spacing between baffle rows, and step heights of baffled aprons. Salmasi et al. [11] assessed the energy dissipation of through-flow and over-flow in gabion stepped spillways, discovering that gabion spillways with pervious surfaces dissipated energy more efficiently than those with concrete walls. Other forms of stepped spillways, such as inclined steps and steps with end sills, were also quantitatively studied for energy dissipation [12]. Saedi and Asareh [13] examined how the number of drop stairs affected energy dissipation in stepped drops and suggested using stepped drops to increase energy dissipation by providing flow path roughness. Al-Husseini [14] found that decreasing the number of steps and downstream slopes led to an increase in flow energy dissipation, and that the use of cascade spillways reduced energy dissipation compared to the original step spillway. MARS and ANN methods were used to estimate energy dissipation in flow across stepped spillways under skimming flow conditions, with both models proving reliable [15]. Frederic et al. [16] evaluated the energy dissipation effectiveness and stability of the Mekin Dam spillway by confirming that flow did not result in transitional flow and by calculating safety factors at various intervals. A numerical model was developed to validate a physical model examining the impact of geometrical parameters on the dissipation rate in flows through stepped spillways [17]. The regulation of the rates of dissipation is studied using a particular kind of fuzzy inference system (FIS). The findings are compared with a predefined numerical database to determine the predicted energy dissipation under various circumstances. The findings show that the suggested FIS may be a useful tool for the operational management of dissipator structures while taking various geometric characteristics into account. Nasralla [18] studied the four phases of the spillway and conducted eighteen runs to enhance energy dissipation through the contraction-stepped spillway. The study considered alternative baffle placements, heights, and widths. The results showed that downstream baffles on the stepped spillway of the stilling basin improve energy dissipation. Using the Flow 3D software, Ikinciogullari [19] quantitatively analyzed the energy dissipation capabilities of trapezoidal stepped spillways using four distinct models and three different discharges. The findings showed that trapezoidal stepped spillways are up to 30% more efficient in dissipating energy than traditional stepped spillways. In previous works, only a few machine learning algorithms were used to forecast energy dissipation across a rectangular stepped spillway without baffles. Therefore, this study used machine learning approaches such as Support Vector Machine (SVM) and Regression Tree (RT) to predict energy dissipation across a rectangular stepped spillway with varied rectangular-shaped baffle configurations at different channel slopes. The study compared these models using statistical analysis to assess their efficiency in predicting energy dissipation over rectangular stepped spillways with baffles. 2. Materials and Methods 2.1. Experimental Setup The experiments were carried out at the Hydraulics laboratory of Delhi Technological University. The tests were performed in a rectangular tilting flume of 8m long, 0.30m wide and 0.40m deep which has a facility to make it horizontal and sloping as well (shown in Figure 1). The flume consists of an inlet section, an outlet section, and a collecting tank at the downstream end which is used to measure the discharge. Figure 2 depicts the model of a rectangular stepped spillway prepared using an acrylic sheet having a width of 0.30m, a height of 0.20m and a base length of 0.40m. A total of four steps were designed with a step height of 0.05m, the step length is 0.10m and rectangular-shaped baffles of length 0.10m and height of 0.05m were arranged in different manner. Figure 3 represents the different baffle arrangements used in the experimental work. At first, the experiment was conducted for no baffle condition. Thereafter the experiment was conducted for the first arrangement of three baffles, in which two baffles were placed at a distance of 0.10m from the toe of the spillway and a distance of 0.10m was maintained between the first two baffles and the third baffle was placed between the first two baffles at a distance of 0.20m from the toe of the spillway (figure 4a). After that, the experiment was conducted for the third arrangement of baffles which consists of five baffles, two more baffles were introduced at a distance of 0.30m from the toe of the spillway and a distance of 0.10m was maintained between them (figure 4b). The baffles used in the experiment were rectangular shaped which had a height of 0.05m and length of 0.10m. The experiments were conducted for five different discharges 2 l/s, 4 l/s, 6 l/s, 8 l/s and 10 l/s. For the purpose of determining the head values both upstream and downstream of the spillway model, a point gauge with a precision of 0.1mm was used. In order to determine the average velocities of the upstream and downstream portions, respectively, a pitot static tube was used in conjunction with a digital manometer.

Figure 1. Rectangular tilting flume
Figure 2. Dimensions of classical stepped spillway
Figure 3. Arrangements of baffles in classical stepped spillway
Figure 4. Rectangular stepped spillway with (a) three baffle arrangement (b) five baffle arrangement
Predicting solid-state phase transformations during metal additive manufacturing: A case study on electron-beam powder bed fusion of Inconel-738

Predicting solid-state phase transformations during metal additive manufacturing: A case study on electron-beam powder bed fusion of Inconel-738

금속 적층 제조 중 고체 상 변형 예측: Inconel-738의 전자빔 분말층 융합에 대한 사례 연구

Nana Kwabena Adomako a, Nima Haghdadi a, James F.L. Dingle bc, Ernst Kozeschnik d, Xiaozhou Liao bc, Simon P. Ringer bc, Sophie Primig a


Metal additive manufacturing (AM) has now become the perhaps most desirable technique for producing complex shaped engineering parts. However, to truly take advantage of its capabilities, advanced control of AM microstructures and properties is required, and this is often enabled via modeling. The current work presents a computational modeling approach to studying the solid-state phase transformation kinetics and the microstructural evolution during AM. Our approach combines thermal and thermo-kinetic modelling. A semi-analytical heat transfer model is employed to simulate the thermal history throughout AM builds. Thermal profiles of individual layers are then used as input for the MatCalc thermo-kinetic software. The microstructural evolution (e.g., fractions, morphology, and composition of individual phases) for any region of interest throughout the build is predicted by MatCalc. The simulation is applied to an IN738 part produced by electron beam powder bed fusion to provide insights into how γ′ precipitates evolve during thermal cycling. Our simulations show qualitative agreement with our experimental results in predicting the size distribution of γ′ along the build height, its multimodal size character, as well as the volume fraction of MC carbides. Our findings indicate that our method is suitable for a range of AM processes and alloys, to predict and engineer their microstructures and properties.

Graphical Abstract



Additive manufacturing, Simulation, Thermal cycles, γ′ phase, IN738

1. Introduction

Additive manufacturing (AM) is an advanced manufacturing method that enables engineering parts with intricate shapes to be fabricated with high efficiency and minimal materials waste. AM involves building up 3D components layer-by-layer from feedstocks such as powder [1]. Various alloys, including steel, Ti, Al, and Ni-based superalloys, have been produced using different AM techniques. These techniques include directed energy deposition (DED), electron- and laser powder bed fusion (E-PBF and L-PBF), and have found applications in a variety of industries such as aerospace and power generation [2][3][4]. Despite the growing interest, certain challenges limit broader applications of AM fabricated components in these industries and others. One of such limitations is obtaining a suitable and reproducible microstructure that offers the desired mechanical properties consistently. In fact, the AM as-built microstructure is highly complex and considerably distinctive from its conventionally processed counterparts owing to the complicated thermal cycles arising from the deposition of several layers upon each other [5][6].

Several studies have reported that the solid-state phases and solidification microstructure of AM processed alloys such as CMSX-4, CoCr [7][8], Ti-6Al-4V [9][10][11]IN738 [6]304L stainless steel [12], and IN718 [13][14] exhibit considerable variations along the build direction. For instance, references [9][10] have reported that there is a variation in the distribution of α and β phases along the build direction in Ti-alloys. Similarly, the microstructure of an L-PBF fabricated martensitic steel exhibits variations in the fraction of martensite [15]. Furthermore, some of the present authors and others [6][16][17][18][19][20] have recently reviewed and reported that there is a difference in the morphology and fraction of nanoscale precipitates as a function of build height in Ni-based superalloys. These non-uniformities in the as-built microstructure result in an undesired heterogeneity in mechanical and other important properties such as corrosion and oxidation [19][21][22][23]. To obtain the desired microstructure and properties, additional processing treatments are utilized, but this incurs extra costs and may lead to precipitation of detrimental phases and grain coarsening. Therefore, a through-process understanding of the microstructure evolution under repeated heating and cooling is now needed to further advance 3D printed microstructure and property control.

It is now commonly understood that the microstructure evolution during printing is complex, and most AM studies concentrate on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the final build only. Post-printing studies of microstructure characteristics at room temperature miss crucial information on how they evolve. In-situ measurements and modelling approaches are required to better understand the complex microstructural evolution under repeated heating and cooling. Most in-situ measurements in AM focus on monitoring the microstructural changes, such as phase transformations and melt pool dynamics during fabrication using X-ray scattering and high-speed X-ray imaging [24][25][26][27]. For example, Zhao et al. [25] measured the rate of solidification and described the α/β phase transformation during L-PBF of Ti-6Al-4V in-situ. Also, Wahlmann et al. [21] recently used an L-PBF machine coupled with X-ray scattering to investigate the changes in CMSX-4 phase during successive melting processes. Although these techniques provide significant understanding of the basic principles of AM, they are not widely accessible. This is due to the great cost of the instrument, competitive application process, and complexities in terms of the experimental set-up, data collection, and analysis [26][28].

Computational modeling techniques are promising and more widely accessible tools that enable advanced understanding, prediction, and engineering of microstructures and properties during AM. So far, the majority of computational studies have concentrated on physics based process models for metal AM, with the goal of predicting the temperature profile, heat transfer, powder dynamics, and defect formation (e.g., porosity) [29][30]. In recent times, there have been efforts in modeling of the AM microstructure evolution using approaches such as phase-field [31], Monte Carlo (MC) [32], and cellular automata (CA) [33], coupled with finite element simulations for temperature profiles. However, these techniques are often restricted to simulating the evolution of solidification microstructures (e.g., grain and dendrite structure) and defects (e.g., porosity). For example, Zinovieva et al. [33] predicted the grain structure of L-PBF Ti-6Al-4V using finite difference and cellular automata methods. However, studies on the computational modelling of the solid-state phase transformations, which largely determine the resulting properties, remain limited. This can be attributed to the multi-component and multi-phase nature of most engineering alloys in AM, along with the complex transformation kinetics during thermal cycling. This kind of research involves predictions of the thermal cycle in AM builds, and connecting it to essential thermodynamic and kinetic data as inputs for the model. Based on the information provided, the thermokinetic model predicts the history of solid-state phase microstructure evolution during deposition as output. For example, a multi-phase, multi-component mean-field model has been developed to simulate the intermetallic precipitation kinetics in IN718 [34] and IN625 [35] during AM. Also, Basoalto et al. [36] employed a computational framework to examine the contrasting distributions of process-induced microvoids and precipitates in two Ni-based superalloys, namely IN718 and CM247LC. Furthermore, McNamara et al. [37] established a computational model based on the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami model for non-isothermal conditions to predict solid-state phase transformation kinetics in L-PBF IN718 and DED Ti-6Al-4V. These models successfully predicted the size and volume fraction of individual phases and captured the repeated nucleation and dissolution of precipitates that occur during AM.

In the current study, we propose a modeling approach with appreciably short computational time to investigate the detailed microstructural evolution during metal AM. This may include obtaining more detailed information on the morphologies of phases, such as size distribution, phase fraction, dissolution and nucleation kinetics, as well as chemistry during thermal cycling and final cooling to room temperature. We utilize the combination of the MatCalc thermo-kinetic simulator and a semi-analytical heat conduction model. MatCalc is a software suite for simulation of phase transformations, microstructure evolution and certain mechanical properties in engineering alloys. It has successfully been employed to simulate solid-state phase transformations in Ni-based superalloys [38][39], steels [40], and Al alloys [41] during complex thermo-mechanical processes. MatCalc uses the classical nucleation theory as well as the so-called Svoboda-Fischer-Fratzl-Kozeschnik (SFFK) growth model as the basis for simulating precipitation kinetics [42]. Although MatCalc was originally developed for conventional thermo-mechanical processes, we will show that it is also applicable for AM if the detailed time-temperature profile of the AM build is known. The semi-analytical heat transfer code developed by Stump and Plotkowski [43] is used to simulate these profile throughout the AM build.

1.1. Application to IN738

Inconel-738 (IN738) is a precipitation hardening Ni-based superalloy mainly employed in high-temperature components, e.g. in gas turbines and aero-engines owing to its exceptional mechanical properties at temperatures up to 980 °C, coupled with high resistance to oxidation and corrosion [44]. Its superior high-temperature strength (∼1090 MPa tensile strength) is provided by the L12 ordered Ni3(Al,Ti) γ′ phase that precipitates in a face-centered cubic (FCC) γ matrix [45][46]. Despite offering great properties, IN738, like most superalloys with high γ′ fractions, is challenging to process owing to its propensity to hot cracking [47][48]. Further, machining of such alloys is challenging because of their high strength and work-hardening rates. It is therefore difficult to fabricate complex INC738 parts using traditional manufacturing techniques like casting, welding, and forging.

The emergence of AM has now made it possible to fabricate such parts from IN738 and other superalloys. Some of the current authors’ recent research successfully applied E-PBF to fabricate defect-free IN738 containing γ′ throughout the build [16][17]. The precipitated γ′ were heterogeneously distributed. In particular, Haghdadi et al. [16] studied the origin of the multimodal size distribution of γ′, while Lim et al. [17] investigated the gradient in γ′ character with build height and its correlation to mechanical properties. Based on these results, the present study aims to extend the understanding of the complex and site-specific microstructural evolution in E-PBF IN738 by using a computational modelling approach. New experimental evidence (e.g., micrographs not published previously) is presented here to support the computational results.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Materials preparation

IN738 Ni-based superalloy (59.61Ni-8.48Co-7.00Al-17.47Cr-3.96Ti-1.01Mo-0.81W-0.56Ta-0.49Nb-0.47C-0.09Zr-0.05B, at%) gas-atomized powder was used as feedstock. The powders, with average size of 60 ± 7 µm, were manufactured by Praxair and distributed by Astro Alloys Inc. An Arcam Q10 machine by GE Additive with an acceleration voltage of 60 kV was used to fabricate a 15 × 15 × 25 mm3 block (XYZ, Z: build direction) on a 316 stainless steel substrate. The block was 3D-printed using a ‘random’ spot melt pattern. The random spot melt pattern involves randomly selecting points in any given layer, with an equal chance of each point being melted. Each spot melt experienced a dwell time of 0.3 ms, and the layer thickness was 50 µm. Some of the current authors have previously characterized the microstructure of the very same and similar builds in more detail [16][17]. A preheat temperature of ∼1000 °C was set and kept during printing to reduce temperature gradients and, in turn, thermal stresses [49][50][51]. Following printing, the build was separated from the substrate through electrical discharge machining. It should be noted that this sample was simultaneously printed with the one used in [17] during the same build process and on the same build plate, under identical conditions.

2.2. Microstructural characterization

The printed sample was longitudinally cut in the direction of the build using a Struers Accutom-50, ground, and then polished to 0.25 µm suspension via standard techniques. The polished x-z surface was electropolished and etched using Struers A2 solution (perchloric acid in ethanol). Specimens for image analysis were polished using a 0.06 µm colloidal silica. Microstructure analyses were carried out across the height of the build using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with focus on the microstructure evolution (γ′ precipitates) in individual layers. The position of each layer being analyzed was determined by multiplying the layer number by the layer thickness (50 µm). It should be noted that the position of the first layer starts where the thermal profile is tracked (in this case, 2 mm from the bottom). SEM images were acquired using a JEOL 7001 field emission microscope. The brightness and contrast settings, acceleration voltage of 15 kV, working distance of 10 mm, and other SEM imaging parameters were all held constant for analysis of the entire build. The ImageJ software was used for automated image analysis to determine the phase fraction and size of γ′ precipitates and carbides. A 2-pixel radius Gaussian blur, following a greyscale thresholding and watershed segmentation was used [52]. Primary γ′ sizes (>50 nm), were measured using equivalent spherical diameters. The phase fractions were considered equal to the measured area fraction. Secondary γ′ particles (<50 nm) were not considered here. The γ′ size in the following refers to the diameter of a precipitate.

2.3. Hardness testing

A Struers DuraScan tester was utilized for Vickers hardness mapping on a polished x-z surface, from top to bottom under a maximum load of 100 mN and 10 s dwell time. 30 micro-indentations were performed per row. According to the ASTM standard [53], the indentations were sufficiently distant (∼500 µm) to assure that strain-hardened areas did not interfere with one another.

2.4. Computational simulation of E-PBF IN738 build

2.4.1. Thermal profile modeling

The thermal history was generated using the semi-analytical heat transfer code (also known as the 3DThesis code) developed by Stump and Plotkowski [43]. This code is an open-source C++ program which provides a way to quickly simulate the conductive heat transfer found in welding and AM. The key use case for the code is the simulation of larger domains than is practicable with Computational Fluid Dynamics/Finite Element Analysis programs like FLOW-3D AM. Although simulating conductive heat transfer will not be an appropriate simplification for some investigations (for example the modelling of keyholding or pore formation), the 3DThesis code does provide fast estimates of temperature, thermal gradient, and solidification rate which can be useful for elucidating microstructure formation across entire layers of an AM build. The mathematics involved in the code is as follows:

In transient thermal conduction during welding and AM, with uniform and constant thermophysical properties and without considering fluid convection and latent heat effects, energy conservation can be expressed as:(1)��∂�∂�=�∇2�+�̇where � is density, � specific heat, � temperature, � time, � thermal conductivity, and �̇ a volumetric heat source. By assuming a semi-infinite domain, Eq. 1 can be analytically solved. The solution for temperature at a given time (t) using a volumetric Gaussian heat source is presented as:(2)��,�,�,�−�0=33�����32∫0�1������exp−3�′�′2��+�′�′2��+�′�′2����′(3)and��=12��−�′+��2for�=�,�,�(4)and�′�′=�−���′Where � is the vector �,�,� and �� is the location of the heat source.

The numerical integration scheme used is an adaptive Gaussian quadrature method based on the following nondimensionalization:(5)�=��xy2�,�′=��xy2�′,�=��xy,�=��xy,�=��xy,�=���xy

A more detailed explanation of the mathematics can be found in reference [43].

The main source of the thermal cycling present within a powder-bed fusion process is the fusion of subsequent layers. Therefore, regions near the top of a build are expected to undergo fewer thermal cycles than those closer to the bottom. For this purpose, data from the single scan’s thermal influence on multiple layers was spliced to represent the thermal cycles experienced at a single location caused by multiple subsequent layers being fused.

The cross-sectional area simulated by this model was kept constant at 1 × 1 mm2, and the depth was dependent on the build location modelled with MatCalc. For a build location 2 mm from the bottom, the maximum number of layers to simulate is 460. Fig. 1a shows a stitched overview OM image of the entire build indicating the region where this thermal cycle is simulated and tracked. To increase similarity with the conditions of the physical build, each thermal history was constructed from the results of two simulations generated with different versions of a random scan path. The parameters used for these thermal simulations can be found in Table 1. It should be noted that the main purpose of the thermal profile modelling was to demonstrate how the conditions at different locations of the build change relative to each other. Accurately predicting the absolute temperature during the build would require validation via a temperature sensor measurement during the build process which is beyond the scope of the study. Nonetheless, to establish the viability of the heat source as a suitable approximation for this study, an additional sensitivity analysis was conducted. This analysis focused on the influence of energy input on γ′ precipitation behavior, the central aim of this paper. This was achieved by employing varying beam absorption energies (0.76, 0.82 – the values utilized in the simulation, and 0.9). The direct impact of beam absorption efficiency on energy input into the material was investigated. Specifically, the initial 20 layers of the build were simulated and subsequently compared to experimental data derived from SEM. While phase fractions were found to be consistent across all conditions, disparities emerged in the mean size of γ′ precipitates. An absorption efficiency of 0.76 yielded a mean size of approximately 70 nm. Conversely, absorption efficiencies of 0.82 and 0.9 exhibited remarkably similar mean sizes of around 130 nm, aligning closely with the outcomes of the experiments.

Fig. 1

Table 1. A list of parameters used in thermal simulation of E-PBF.

Spatial resolution5 µm
Time step0.5 s
Beam diameter200 µm
Beam penetration depth1 µm
Beam power1200 W
Beam absorption efficiency0.82
Thermal conductivity25.37 W/(m⋅K)
Chamber temperature1000 °C
Specific heat711.756 J/(kg⋅K)
Density8110 kg/m3

2.4.2. Thermo-kinetic simulation

The numerical analyses of the evolution of precipitates was performed using MatCalc version 6.04 (rel 0.011). The thermodynamic (‘mc_ni.tdb’, version 2.034) and diffusion (‘mc_ni.ddb’, version 2.007) databases were used. MatCalc’s basic principles are elaborated as follows:

The nucleation kinetics of precipitates are computed using a computational technique based on a classical nucleation theory [54] that has been modified for systems with multiple components [42][55]. Accordingly, the transient nucleation rate (�), which expresses the rate at which nuclei are formed per unit volume and time, is calculated as:(6)�=�0��*∙�xp−�*�∙�∙exp−��where �0 denotes the number of active nucleation sites, �* the rate of atomic attachment, � the Boltzmann constant, � the temperature, �* the critical energy for nucleus formation, τ the incubation time, and t the time. � (Zeldovich factor) takes into consideration that thermal excitation destabilizes the nucleus as opposed to its inactive state [54]. Z is defined as follows:(7)�=−12�kT∂2∆�∂�2�*12where ∆� is the overall change in free energy due to the formation of a nucleus and n is the nucleus’ number of atoms. ∆�’s derivative is evaluated at n* (critical nucleus size). �* accounts for the long-range diffusion of atoms required for nucleation, provided that the matrix’ and precipitates’ composition differ. Svoboda et al. [42] developed an appropriate multi-component equation for �*, which is given by:(8)�*=4��*2�4�∑�=1��ki−�0�2�0��0�−1where �* denotes the critical radius for nucleation, � represents atomic distance, and � is the molar volume. �ki and �0� represent the concentration of elements in the precipitate and matrix, respectively. The parameter �0� denotes the rate of diffusion of the ith element within the matrix. The expression for the incubation time � is expressed as [54]:(9)�=12�*�2

and �*, which represents the critical energy for nucleation:(10)�*=16�3�3∆�vol2where � is the interfacial energy, and ∆Gvol the change in the volume free energy. The critical nucleus’ composition is similar to the γ′ phase’s equilibrium composition at the same temperature. � is computed based on the precipitate and matrix compositions, using a generalized nearest neighbor broken bond model, with the assumption of interfaces being planar, sharp, and coherent [56][57][58].

In Eq. 7, it is worth noting that �* represents the fundamental variable in the nucleation theory. It contains �3/∆�vol2 and is in the exponent of the nucleation rate. Therefore, even small variations in γ and/or ∆�vol can result in notable changes in �, especially if �* is in the order of �∙�. This is demonstrated in [38] for UDIMET 720 Li during continuous cooling, where these quantities change steadily during precipitation due to their dependence on matrix’ and precipitate’s temperature and composition. In the current work, these changes will be even more significant as the system is exposed to multiple cycles of rapid cooling and heating.

Once nucleated, the growth of a precipitate is assessed using the radius and composition evolution equations developed by Svoboda et al. [42] with a mean-field method that employs the thermodynamic extremal principle. The expression for the total Gibbs free energy of a thermodynamic system G, which consists of n components and m precipitates, is given as follows:(11)�=∑���0��0�+∑�=1�4���33��+∑�=1��ki�ki+∑�=1�4���2��.

The chemical potential of component � in the matrix is denoted as �0�(�=1,…,�), while the chemical potential of component � in the precipitate is represented by �ki(�=1,…,�,�=1,…,�). These chemical potentials are defined as functions of the concentrations �ki(�=1,…,�,�=1,…,�). The interface energy density is denoted as �, and �� incorporates the effects of elastic energy and plastic work resulting from the volume change of each precipitate.

Eq. (12) establishes that the total free energy of the system in its current state relies on the independent state variables: the sizes (radii) of the precipitates �� and the concentrations of each component �ki. The remaining variables can be determined by applying the law of mass conservation to each component �. This can be represented by the equation:(12)��=�0�+∑�=1�4���33�ki,

Furthermore, the global mass conservation can be expressed by equation:(13)�=∑�=1���When a thermodynamic system transitions to a more stable state, the energy difference between the initial and final stages is dissipated. This model considers three distinct forms of dissipation effects [42]. These include dissipations caused by the movement of interfaces, diffusion within the precipitate and diffusion within the matrix.

Consequently, �̇� (growth rate) and �̇ki (chemical composition’s rate of change) of the precipitate with index � are derived from the linear system of equation system:(14)�ij��=��where �� symbolizes the rates �̇� and �̇ki [42]. Index i contains variables for precipitate radius, chemical composition, and stoichiometric boundary conditions suggested by the precipitate’s crystal structure. Eq. (10) is computed separately for every precipitate �. For a more detailed description of the formulae for the coefficients �ij and �� employed in this work please refer to [59].

The MatCalc software was used to perform the numerical time integration of �̇� and �̇ki of precipitates based on the classical numerical method by Kampmann and Wagner [60]. Detailed information on this method can be found in [61]. Using this computational method, calculations for E-PBF thermal cycles (cyclic heating and cooling) were computed and compared to experimental data. The simulation took approximately 2–4 hrs to complete on a standard laptop.

3. Results

3.1. Microstructure

Fig. 1 displays a stitched overview image and selected SEM micrographs of various γ′ morphologies and carbides after observations of the X-Z surface of the build from the top to 2 mm above the bottom. Fig. 2 depicts a graph that charts the average size and phase fraction of the primary γ′, as it changes with distance from the top to the bottom of the build. The SEM micrographs show widespread primary γ′ precipitation throughout the entire build, with the size increasing in the top to bottom direction. Particularly, at the topmost height, representing the 460th layer (Z = 22.95 mm), as seen in Fig. 1b, the average size of γ′ is 110 ± 4 nm, exhibiting spherical shapes. This is representative of the microstructure after it solidifies and cools to room temperature, without experiencing additional thermal cycles. The γ′ size slightly increases to 147 ± 6 nm below this layer and remains constant until 0.4 mm (∼453rd layer) from the top. At this position, the microstructure still closely resembles that of the 460th layer. After the 453rd layer, the γ′ size grows rapidly to ∼503 ± 19 nm until reaching the 437th layer (1.2 mm from top). The γ′ particles here have a cuboidal shape, and a small fraction is coarser than 600 nm. γ′ continue to grow steadily from this position to the bottom (23 mm from the top). A small fraction of γ′ is > 800 nm.

Fig. 2

Besides primary γ′, secondary γ′ with sizes ranging from 5 to 50 nm were also found. These secondary γ′ precipitates, as seen in Fig. 1f, were present only in the bottom and middle regions. A detailed analysis of the multimodal size distribution of γ′ can be found in [16]. There is no significant variation in the phase fraction of the γ′ along the build. The phase fraction is ∼ 52%, as displayed in Fig. 2. It is worth mentioning that the total phase fraction of γ′ was estimated based on the primary γ′ phase fraction because of the small size of secondary γ′. Spherical MC carbides with sizes ranging from 50 to 400 nm and a phase fraction of 0.8% were also observed throughout the build. The carbides are the light grey precipitates in Fig. 1g. The light grey shade of carbides in the SEM images is due to their composition and crystal structure [52]. These carbides are not visible in Fig. 1b-e because they were dissolved during electro-etching carried out after electropolishing. In Fig. 1g, however, the sample was examined directly after electropolishing, without electro-etching.

Table 2 shows the nominal and measured composition of γ′ precipitates throughout the build by atom probe microscopy as determined in our previous study [17]. No build height-dependent composition difference was observed in either of the γ′ precipitate populations. However, there was a slight disparity between the composition of primary and secondary γ′. Among the main γ′ forming elements, the primary γ′ has a high Ti concentration while secondary γ′ has a high Al concentration. A detailed description of the atom distribution maps and the proxigrams of the constituent elements of γ′ throughout the build can be found in [17].

Table 2. Bulk IN738 composition determined using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Compositions of γ, primary γ′, and secondary γ′ at various locations in the build measured by APT. This information is reproduced from data in Ref. [17] with permission.

γ matrix
Primary γ′
Secondary γ′

3.2. Hardness

Fig. 3a shows the Vickers hardness mapping performed along the entire X-Z surface, while Fig. 3b shows the plot of average hardness at different build heights. This hardness distribution is consistent with the γ′ precipitate size gradient across the build direction in Fig. 1Fig. 2. The maximum hardness of ∼530 HV1 is found at ∼0.5 mm away from the top surface (Z = 22.5), where γ′ particles exhibit the smallest observed size in Fig. 2b. Further down the build (∼ 2 mm from the top), the hardness drops to the 440–490 HV1 range. This represents the region where γ′ begins to coarsen. The hardness drops further to 380–430 HV1 at the bottom of the build.

Fig. 3

3.3. Modeling of the microstructural evolution during E-PBF

3.3.1. Thermal profile modeling

Fig. 4 shows the simulated thermal profile of the E-PBF build at a location of 23 mm from the top of the build, using a semi-analytical heat conduction model. This profile consists of the time taken to deposit 460 layers until final cooling, as shown in Fig. 4a. Fig. 4b-d show the magnified regions of Fig. 4a and reveal the first 20 layers from the top, a single layer (first layer from the top), and the time taken for the build to cool after the last layer deposition, respectively.

Fig. 4

The peak temperatures experienced by previous layers decrease progressively as the number of layers increases but never fall below the build preheat temperature (1000 °C). Our simulated thermal cycle may not completely capture the complexity of the actual thermal cycle utilized in the E-PBF build. For instance, the top layer (Fig. 4c), also representing the first deposit’s thermal profile without additional cycles (from powder heating, melting, to solidification), recorded the highest peak temperature of 1390 °C. Although this temperature is above the melting range of the alloy (1230–1360 °C) [62], we believe a much higher temperature was produced by the electron beam to melt the powder. Nevertheless, the solidification temperature and dynamics are outside the scope of this study as our focus is on the solid-state phase transformations during deposition. It takes ∼25 s for each layer to be deposited and cooled to the build temperature. The interlayer dwell time is 125 s. The time taken for the build to cool to room temperature (RT) after final layer deposition is ∼4.7 hrs (17,000 s).

3.3.2. MatCalc simulation

During the MatCalc simulation, the matrix phase is defined as γ. γ′, and MC carbide are included as possible precipitates. The domain of these precipitates is set to be the matrix (γ), and nucleation is assumed to be homogenous. In homogeneous nucleation, all atoms of the unit volume are assumed to be potential nucleation sitesTable 3 shows the computational parameters used in the simulation. All other parameters were set at default values as recommended in the version 6.04.0011 of MatCalc. The values for the interfacial energies are automatically calculated according to the generalized nearest neighbor broken bond model and is one of the most outstanding features in MatCalc [56][57][58]. It should be noted that the elastic misfit strain was not included in the calculation. The output of MatCalc includes phase fraction, size, nucleation rate, and composition of the precipitates. The phase fraction in MatCalc is the volume fraction. Although the experimental phase fraction is the measured area fraction, it is relatively similar to the volume fraction. This is because of the generally larger precipitate size and similar morphology at the various locations along the build [63]. A reliable phase fraction comparison between experiment and simulation can therefore be made.

Table 3. Computational parameters used in the simulation.

Precipitation domainγ
Nucleation site γ′Bulk (homogenous)
Nucleation site MC carbideBulk (Homogenous)
Precipitates class size250
Regular solution critical temperature γ′2500 K[64]
Calculated interfacial energyγ′ = 0.080–0.140 J/m2 and MC carbide = 0.410–0.430 J/m2 Precipitate phase fraction

Fig. 5a shows the simulated phase fraction of γ′ and MC carbide during thermal cycling. Fig. 5b is a magnified view of 5a showing the simulated phase fraction at the center points of the top 70 layers, whereas Fig. 5c corresponds to the first two layers from the top. As mentioned earlier, the top layer (460th layer) represents the microstructure after solidification. The microstructure of the layers below is determined by the number of thermal cycles, which increases with distance to the top. For example, layers 459, 458, 457, up to layer 1 (region of interest) experience 1, 2, 3 and 459 thermal cycles, respectively. In the top layer in Fig. 5c, the volume fraction of γ′ and carbides increases with temperature. For γ′, it decreases to zero when the temperature is above the solvus temperature after a few seconds. Carbides, however, remain constant in their volume fraction reaching equilibrium (phase fraction ∼ 0.9%) in a short time. The topmost layer can be compared to the first deposit, and the peak in temperature symbolizes the stage where the electron beam heats the powder until melting. This means γ′ and carbide precipitation might have started in the powder particles during heating from the build temperature and electron beam until the onset of melting, where γ′ dissolves, but carbides remain stable [28].

Fig. 5

During cooling after deposition, γ′ reprecipitates at a temperature of 1085 °C, which is below its solvus temperature. As cooling progresses, the phase fraction increases steadily to ∼27% and remains constant at 1000 °C (elevated build temperature). The calculated equilibrium fraction of phases by MatCalc is used to show the complex precipitation characteristics in this alloy. Fig. 6 shows that MC carbides form during solidification at 1320 °C, followed by γ′, which precipitate when the solidified layer cools to 1140 °C. This indicates that all deposited layers might contain a negligible amount of these precipitates before subsequent layer deposition, while being at the 1000 °C build temperature or during cooling to RT. The phase diagram also shows that the equilibrium fraction of the γ′ increases as temperature decreases. For instance, at 1000, 900, and 800 °C, the phase fractions are ∼30%, 38%, and 42%, respectively.

Fig. 6

Deposition of subsequent layers causes previous layers to undergo phase transformations as they are exposed to several thermal cycles with different peak temperatures. In Fig. 5c, as the subsequent layer is being deposited, γ′ in the previous layer (459th layer) begins to dissolve as the temperature crosses the solvus temperature. This is witnessed by the reduction of the γ′ phase fraction. This graph also shows how this phase dissolves during heating. However, the phase fraction of MC carbide remains stable at high temperatures and no dissolution is seen during thermal cycling. Upon cooling, the γ′ that was dissolved during heating reprecipitates with a surge in the phase fraction until 1000 °C, after which it remains constant. This microstructure is similar to the solidification microstructure (layer 460), with a similar γ′ phase fraction (∼27%).

The complete dissolution and reprecipitation of γ′ continue for several cycles until the 50th layer from the top (layer 411), where the phase fraction does not reach zero during heating to the peak temperature (see Fig. 5d). This indicates the ‘partial’ dissolution of γ′, which continues progressively with additional layers. It should be noted that the peak temperatures for layers that underwent complete dissolution were much higher (1170–1300 °C) than the γ′ solvus.

The dissolution and reprecipitation of γ′ during thermal cycling are further confirmed in Fig. 7, which summarizes the nucleation rate, phase fraction, and concentration of major elements that form γ′ in the matrix. Fig. 7b magnifies a single layer (3rd layer from top) within the full dissolution region in Fig. 7a to help identify the nucleation and growth mechanisms. From Fig. 7b, γ′ nucleation begins during cooling whereby the nucleation rate increases to reach a maximum value of approximately 1 × 1020 m−3s−1. This fast kinetics implies that some rearrangement of atoms is required for γ′ precipitates to form in the matrix [65][66]. The matrix at this stage is in a non-equilibrium condition. Its composition is similar to the nominal composition and remains unchanged. The phase fraction remains insignificant at this stage although nucleation has started. The nucleation rate starts declining upon reaching the peak value. Simultaneously, diffusion-controlled growth of existing nuclei occurs, depleting the matrix of γ′ forming elements (Al and Ti). Thus, from (7)(11), ∆�vol continuously decreases until nucleation ceases. The growth of nuclei is witnessed by the increase in phase fraction until a constant level is reached at 27% upon cooling to and holding at build temperature. This nucleation event is repeated several times.

Fig. 7

At the onset of partial dissolution, the nucleation rate jumps to 1 × 1021 m−3s−1, and then reduces sharply at the middle stage of partial dissolution. The nucleation rate reaches 0 at a later stage. Supplementary Fig. S1 shows a magnified view of the nucleation rate, phase fraction, and thermal profile, underpinning this trend. The jump in nucleation rate at the onset is followed by a progressive reduction in the solute content of the matrix. The peak temperatures (∼1130–1160 °C) are lower than those in complete dissolution regions but still above or close to the γ′ solvus. The maximum phase fraction (∼27%) is similar to that of the complete dissolution regions. At the middle stage, the reduction in nucleation rate is accompanied by a sharp drop in the matrix composition. The γ′ fraction drops to ∼24%, where the peak temperatures of the layers are just below or at γ′ solvus. The phase fraction then increases progressively through the later stage of partial dissolution to ∼30% towards the end of thermal cycling. The matrix solute content continues to drop although no nucleation event is seen. The peak temperatures are then far below the γ′ solvus. It should be noted that the matrix concentration after complete dissolution remains constant. Upon cooling to RT after final layer deposition, the nucleation rate increases again, indicating new nucleation events. The phase fraction reaches ∼40%, with a further depletion of the matrix in major γ′ forming elements. γ′ size distribution

Fig. 8 shows histograms of the γ′ precipitate size distributions (PSD) along the build height during deposition. These PSDs are predicted at the end of each layer of interest just before final cooling to room temperature, to separate the role of thermal cycles from final cooling on the evolution of γ′. The PSD for the top layer (layer 460) is shown in Fig. 8a (last solidified region with solidification microstructure). The γ′ size ranges from 120 to 230 nm and is similar to the 44 layers below (2.2 mm from the top).

Fig. 8

Further down the build, γ′ begins to coarsen after layer 417 (44th layer from top). Fig. 8c shows the PSD after the 44th layer, where the γ′ size exhibits two peaks at ∼120–230 and ∼300 nm, with most of the population being in the former range. This is the onset of partial dissolution where simultaneously with the reprecipitation and growth of fresh γ′, the undissolved γ′ grows rapidly through diffusive transport of atoms to the precipitates. This is shown in Fig. 8c, where the precipitate class sizes between 250 and 350 represent the growth of undissolved γ′. Although this continues in the 416th layer, the phase fractions plot indicates that the onset of partial dissolution begins after the 411th layer. This implies that partial dissolution started early, but the fraction of undissolved γ′ was too low to impact the phase fraction. The reprecipitated γ′ are mostly in the 100–220 nm class range and similar to those observed during full dissolution.

As the number of layers increases, coarsening intensifies with continued growth of more undissolved γ′, and reprecipitation and growth of partially dissolved ones. Fig. 8d, e, and f show this sequence. Further down the build, coarsening progresses rapidly, as shown in Figs. 8d, 8e, and 8f. The γ′ size ranges from 120 to 1100 nm, with the peaks at 160, 180, and 220 nm in Figs. 8d, 8e, and 8f, respectively. Coarsening continues until nucleation ends during dissolution, where only the already formed γ′ precipitates continue to grow during further thermal cycling. The γ′ size at this point is much larger, as observed in layers 361 and 261, and continues to increase steadily towards the bottom (layer 1). Two populations in the ranges of ∼380–700 and ∼750–1100 nm, respectively, can be seen. The steady growth of γ′ towards the bottom is confirmed by the gradual decrease in the concentration of solute elements in the matrix (Fig. 7a). It should be noted that for each layer, the γ′ class with the largest size originates from continuous growth of the earliest set of the undissolved precipitates.

Fig. 9Fig. 10 and supplementary Figs. S2 and S3 show the γ′ size evolution during heating and cooling of a single layer in the full dissolution region, and early, middle stages, and later stages of partial dissolution, respectively. In all, the size of γ′ reduces during layer heating. Depending on the peak temperature of the layer which varies with build height, γ′ are either fully or partially dissolved as mentioned earlier. Upon cooling, the dissolved γ′ reprecipitate.

Fig. 9
Fig. 10

In Fig. 9, those layers that underwent complete dissolution (top layers) were held above γ′ solvus temperature for longer. In Fig. 10, layers at the early stage of partial dissolution spend less time in the γ′ solvus temperature region during heating, leading to incomplete dissolution. In such conditions, smaller precipitates are fully dissolved while larger ones shrink [67]. Layers in the middle stages of partial dissolution have peak temperatures just below or at γ′ solvus, not sufficient to achieve significant γ′ dissolution. As seen in supplementary Fig. S2, only a few smaller γ′ are dissolved back into the matrix during heating, i.e., growth of precipitates is more significant than dissolution. This explains the sharp decrease in concentration of Al and Ti in the matrix in this layer.

The previous sections indicate various phenomena such as an increase in phase fraction, further depletion of matrix composition, and new nucleation bursts during cooling. Analysis of the PSD after the final cooling of the build to room temperature allows a direct comparison to post-printing microstructural characterization. Fig. 11 shows the γ′ size distribution of layer 1 (460th layer from the top) after final cooling to room temperature. Precipitation of secondary γ′ is observed, leading to the multimodal size distribution of secondary and primary γ′. The secondary γ′ size falls within the 10–80 nm range. As expected, a further growth of the existing primary γ′ is also observed during cooling.

Fig. 11 γ′ chemistry after deposition

Fig. 12 shows the concentration of the major elements that form γ′ (Al, Ti, and Ni) in the primary and secondary γ′ at the bottom of the build, as calculated by MatCalc. The secondary γ′ has a higher Al content (13.5–14.5 at% Al), compared to 13 at% Al in the primary γ′. Additionally, within the secondary γ′, the smallest particles (∼10 nm) have higher Al contents than larger ones (∼70 nm). In contrast, for the primary γ′, there is no significant variation in the Al content as a function of their size. The Ni concentration in secondary γ′ (71.1–72 at%) is also higher in comparison to the primary γ′ (70 at%). The smallest secondary γ′ (∼10 nm) have higher Ni contents than larger ones (∼70 nm), whereas there is no substantial change in the Ni content of primary γ′, based on their size. As expected, Ti shows an opposite size-dependent variation. It ranges from ∼ 7.7–8.7 at% Ti in secondary γ′ to ∼9.2 at% in primary γ′. Similarly, within the secondary γ′, the smallest (∼10 nm) have lower Al contents than the larger ones (∼70 nm). No significant variation is observed for Ti content in primary γ′.

Fig. 12

4. Discussion

A combined modelling method is utilized to study the microstructural evolution during E-PBF of IN738. The presented results are discussed by examining the precipitation and dissolution mechanism of γ′ during thermal cycling. This is followed by a discussion on the phase fraction and size evolution of γ′ during thermal cycling and after final cooling. A brief discussion on carbide morphology is also made. Finally, a comparison is made between the simulation and experimental results to assess their agreement.

4.1. γ′ morphology as a function of build height

4.1.1. Nucleation of γ′

The fast precipitation kinetics of the γ′ phase enables formation of γ′ upon quenching from higher temperatures (above solvus) during thermal cycling [66]. In Fig. 7b, for a single layer in the full dissolution region, during cooling, the initial increase in nucleation rate signifies the first formation of nuclei. The slight increase in nucleation rate during partial dissolution, despite a decrease in the concentration of γ′ forming elements, may be explained by the nucleation kinetics. During partial dissolution and as the precipitates shrink, it is assumed that the regions at the vicinity of partially dissolved precipitates are enriched in γ′ forming elements [68][69]. This differs from the full dissolution region, in which case the chemical composition is evenly distributed in the matrix. Several authors have attributed the solute supersaturation of the matrix around primary γ′ to partial dissolution during isothermal ageing [69][70][71][72]. The enhanced supersaturation in the regions close to the precipitates results in a much higher driving force for nucleation, leading to a higher nucleation rate upon cooling. This phenomenon can be closely related to the several nucleation bursts upon continuous cooling of Ni-based superalloys, where second nucleation bursts exhibit higher nucleation rates [38][68][73][74].

At middle stages of partial dissolution, the reduction in the nucleation rate indicates that the existing composition and low supersaturation did not trigger nucleation as the matrix was closer to the equilibrium state. The end of a nucleation burst means that the supersaturation of Al and Ti has reached a low level, incapable of providing sufficient driving force during cooling to or holding at 1000 °C for further nucleation [73]. Earlier studies on Ni-based superalloys have reported the same phenomenon during ageing or continuous cooling from the solvus temperature to RT [38][73][74].

4.1.2. Dissolution of γ′ during thermal cycling

γ′ dissolution kinetics during heating are fast when compared to nucleation due to exponential increase in phase transformation and diffusion activities with temperature [65]. As shown in Fig. 9Fig. 10, and supplementary Figs. S2 and S3, the reduction in γ′ phase fraction and size during heating indicates γ′ dissolution. This is also revealed in Fig. 5 where phase fraction decreases upon heating. The extent of γ′ dissolution mostly depends on the temperature, time spent above γ′ solvus, and precipitate size [75][76][77]. Smaller γ′ precipitates are first to be dissolved [67][77][78]. This is mainly because more solute elements need to be transported away from large γ′ precipitates than from smaller ones [79]. Also, a high temperature above γ′ solvus temperature leads to a faster dissolution rate [80]. The equilibrium solvus temperature of γ′ in IN738 in our MatCalc simulation (Fig. 6) and as reported by Ojo et al. [47] is 1140 °C and 1130–1180 °C, respectively. This means the peak temperature experienced by previous layers decreases progressively from γ′ supersolvus to subsolvus, near-solvus, and far from solvus as the number of subsequent layers increases. Based on the above, it can be inferred that the degree of dissolution of γ′ contributes to the gradient in precipitate distribution.

Although the peak temperatures during later stages of partial dissolution are much lower than the equilibrium γ′ solvus, γ′ dissolution still occurs but at a significantly lower rate (supplementary Fig. S3). Wahlmann et al. [28] also reported a similar case where they observed the rapid dissolution of γ′ in CMSX-4 during fast heating and cooling cycles at temperatures below the γ′ solvus. They attributed this to the γ′ phase transformation process taking place in conditions far from the equilibrium. While the same reasoning may be valid for our study, we further believe that the greater surface area to volume ratio of the small γ′ precipitates contributed to this. This ratio means a larger area is available for solute atoms to diffuse into the matrix even at temperatures much below the solvus [81].

4.2. γ′ phase fraction and size evolution

4.2.1. During thermal cycling

In the first layer, the steep increase in γ′ phase fraction during heating (Fig. 5), which also represents γ′ precipitation in the powder before melting, has qualitatively been validated in [28]. The maximum phase fraction of 27% during the first few layers of thermal cycling indicates that IN738 theoretically could reach the equilibrium state (∼30%), but the short interlayer time at the build temperature counteracts this. The drop in phase fraction at middle stages of partial dissolution is due to the low number of γ′ nucleation sites [73]. It has been reported that a reduction of γ′ nucleation sites leads to a delay in obtaining the final volume fraction as more time is required for γ′ precipitates to grow and reach equilibrium [82]. This explains why even upon holding for 150 s before subsequent layer deposition, the phase fraction does not increase to those values that were observed in the previous full γ′ dissolution regions. Towards the end of deposition, the increase in phase fraction to the equilibrium value of 30% is as a result of the longer holding at build temperature or close to it [83].

During thermal cycling, γ′ particles begin to grow immediately after they first precipitate upon cooling. This is reflected in the rapid increase in phase fraction and size during cooling in Fig. 5 and supplementary Fig. S2, respectively. The rapid growth is due to the fast diffusion of solute elements at high temperatures [84]. The similar size of γ′ for the first 44 layers from the top can be attributed to the fact that all layers underwent complete dissolution and hence, experienced the same nucleation event and growth during deposition. This corresponds with the findings by Balikci et al. [85], who reported that the degree of γ′ precipitation in IN738LC does not change when a solution heat treatment is conducted above a certain critical temperature.

The increase in coarsening rate (Fig. 8) during thermal cycling can first be ascribed to the high peak temperature of the layers [86]. The coarsening rate of γ′ is known to increase rapidly with temperature due to the exponential growth of diffusion activity. Also, the simultaneous dissolution with coarsening could be another reason for the high coarsening rate, as γ′ coarsening is a diffusion-driven process where large particles grow by consuming smaller ones [78][84][86][87]. The steady growth of γ′ towards the bottom of the build is due to the much lower layer peak temperature, which is almost close to the build temperature, and reduced dissolution activity, as is seen in the much lower solute concentration in γ′ compared to those in the full and partial dissolution regions.

4.2.2. During cooling

The much higher phase fraction of ∼40% upon cooling signifies the tendency of γ′ to reach equilibrium at lower temperatures (Fig. 4). This is due to the precipitation of secondary γ′ and a further increase in the size of existing primary γ′, which leads to a multimodal size distribution of γ′ after cooling [38][73][88][89][90]. The reason for secondary γ′ formation during cooling is as follows: As cooling progresses, it becomes increasingly challenging to redistribute solute elements in the matrix owing to their lower mobility [38][73]. A higher supersaturation level in regions away from or free of the existing γ′ precipitates is achieved, making them suitable sites for additional nucleation bursts. More cooling leads to the growth of these secondary γ′ precipitates, but as the temperature and in turn, the solute diffusivity is low, growth remains slow.

4.3. Carbides

MC carbides in IN738 are known to have a significant impact on the high-temperature strength. They can also act as effective hardening particles and improve the creep resistance [91]. Precipitation of MC carbides in IN738 and several other superalloys is known to occur during solidification or thermal treatments (e.g., hot isostatic pressing) [92]. In our case, this means that the MC carbides within the E-PBF build formed because of the thermal exposure from the E-PBF thermal cycle in addition to initial solidification. Our simulation confirms this as MC carbides appear during layer heating (Fig. 5). The constant and stable phase fraction of MC carbides during thermal cycling can be attributed to their high melting point (∼1360 °C) and the short holding time at peak temperatures [75][93][94]. The solvus temperature for most MC carbides exceeds most of the peak temperatures observed in our simulation, and carbide dissolution kinetics at temperatures above the solvus are known to be comparably slow [95]. The stable phase fraction and random distribution of MC carbides signifies the slight influence on the gradient in hardness.

4.4. Comparison of simulations and experiments

4.4.1. Precipitate phase fraction and morphology as a function of build height

A qualitative agreement is observed for the phase fraction of carbides, i.e. ∼0.8% in the experiment and ∼0.9% in the simulation. The phase fraction of γ′ differs, with the experiment reporting a value of ∼51% and the simulation, 40%. Despite this, the size distribution of primary γ′ along the build shows remarkable consistency between experimental and computational analyses. It is worth noting that the primary γ′ morphology in the experimental analysis is observed in the as-fabricated state, whereas the simulation (Fig. 8) captures it during deposition process. The primary γ′ size in the experiment is expected to experience additional growth during the cooling phase. Regardless, both show similar trends in primary γ′ size increments from the top to the bottom of the build. The larger primary γ’ size in the simulation versus the experiment can be attributed to the fact that experimental and simulation results are based on 2D and 3D data, respectively. The absence of stereological considerations [96] in our analysis could have led to an underestimation of the precipitate sizes from SEM measurements. The early starts of coarsening (8th layer) in the experiment compared to the simulation (45th layer) can be attributed to a higher actual γ′ solvus temperature than considered in our simulation [47]. The solvus temperature of γ′ in a Ni-based superalloy is mainly determined by the detailed composition. A high amount of Cr and Co are known to reduce the solvus temperature, whereas Ta and Mo will increase it [97][98][99]. The elemental composition from our experimental work was used for the simulation except for Ta. It should be noted that Ta is not included in the thermodynamic database in MatCalc used, and this may have reduced the solvus temperature. This could also explain the relatively higher γ′ phase fraction in the experiment than in simulation, as a higher γ′ solvus temperature will cause more γ′ to precipitate and grow early during cooling [99][100].

Another possible cause of this deviation can be attributed to the extent of γ′ dissolution, which is mainly determined by the peak temperature. It can be speculated that individual peak temperatures at different layers in the simulation may have been over-predicted. However, one needs to consider that the true thermal profile is likely more complicated in the actual E-PBF process [101]. For example, the current model assumes that the thermophysical properties of the material are temperature-independent, which is not realistic. Many materials, including IN738, exhibit temperature-dependent properties such as thermal conductivityspecific heat capacity, and density [102]. This means that heat transfer simulations may underestimate or overestimate the temperature gradients and cooling rates within the powder bed and the solidified part. Additionally, the model does not account for the reduced thermal diffusivity through unmelted powder, where gas separating the powder acts as insulation, impeding the heat flow [1]. In E-PBF, the unmelted powder regions with trapped gas have lower thermal diffusivity compared to the fully melted regions, leading to localized temperature variations, and altered solidification behavior. These limitations can impact the predictions, particularly in relation to the carbide dissolution, as the peak temperatures may be underestimated.

While acknowledging these limitations, it is worth emphasizing that achieving a detailed and accurate representation of each layer’s heat source would impose tough computational challenges. Given the substantial layer count in E-PBF, our decision to employ a semi-analytical approximation strikes a balance between computational feasibility and the capture of essential trends in thermal profiles across diverse build layers. In future work, a dual-calibration strategy is proposed to further reduce simulation-experiment disparities. By refining temperature-independent thermophysical property approximations and absorptivity in the heat source model, and by optimizing interfacial energy descriptions in the kinetic model, the predictive precision could be enhanced. Further refining the simulation controls, such as adjusting the precipitate class size may enhance quantitative comparisons between modeling outcomes and experimental data in future work.

4.4.2. Multimodal size distribution of γ′ and concentration

Another interesting feature that sees qualitative agreement between the simulation and the experiment is the multimodal size distribution of γ′. The formation of secondary γ′ particles in the experiment and most E-PBF Ni-based superalloys is suggested to occur at low temperatures, during final cooling to RT [16][73][90]. However, so far, this conclusion has been based on findings from various continuous cooling experiments, as the study of the evolution during AM would require an in-situ approach. Our simulation unambiguously confirms this in an AM context by providing evidence for secondary γ′ precipitation during slow cooling to RT. Additionally, it is possible to speculate that the chemical segregation occurring during solidification, due to the preferential partitioning of certain elements between the solid and liquid phases, can contribute to the multimodal size distribution during deposition [51]. This is because chemical segregation can result in variations in the local composition of superalloys, which subsequently affects the nucleation and growth of γ′. Regions with higher concentrations of alloying elements will encourage the formation of larger γ′ particles, while regions with lower concentrations may favor the nucleation of smaller precipitates. However, it is important to acknowledge that the elevated temperature during the E-PBF process will largely homogenize these compositional differences [103][104].

A good correlation is also shown in the composition of major γ′ forming elements (Al and Ti) in primary and secondary γ′. Both experiment and simulation show an increasing trend for Al content and a decreasing trend for Ti content from primary to secondary γ′. The slight composition differences between primary and secondary γ′ particles are due to the different diffusivity of γ′ stabilizers at different thermal conditions [105][106]. As the formation of multimodal γ′ particles with different sizes occurs over a broad temperature range, the phase chemistry of γ′ will be highly size dependent. The changes in the chemistry of various γ′ (primary, secondary, and tertiary) have received significant attention since they have a direct influence on the performance [68][105][107][108][109]. Chen et al. [108][109], reported a high Al content in the smallest γ′ precipitates compared to the largest, while Ti showed an opposite trend during continuous cooling in a RR1000 Ni-based superalloy. This was attributed to the temperature and cooling rate at which the γ′ precipitates were formed. The smallest precipitates formed last, at the lowest temperature and cooling rate. A comparable observation is evident in the present investigation, where the secondary γ′ forms at a low temperature and cooling rate in comparison to the primary. The temperature dependence of γ′ chemical composition is further evidenced in supplementary Fig. S4, which shows the equilibrium chemical composition of γ′ as a function of temperature.

5. Conclusions

A correlative modelling approach capable of predicting solid-state phase transformations kinetics in metal AM was developed. This approach involves computational simulations with a semi-analytical heat transfer model and the MatCalc thermo-kinetic software. The method was used to predict the phase transformation kinetics and detailed morphology and chemistry of γ′ and MC during E-PBF of IN738 Ni-based superalloy. The main conclusions are:

  • 1.The computational simulations are in qualitative agreement with the experimental observations. This is particularly true for the γ′ size distribution along the build height, the multimodal size distribution of particles, and the phase fraction of MC carbides.
  • 2.The deviations between simulation and experiment in terms of γ′ phase fraction and location in the build are most likely attributed to a higher γ′ solvus temperature during the experiment than in the simulation, which is argued to be related to the absence of Ta in the MatCalc database.
  • 3.The dissolution and precipitation of γ′ occur fast and under non-equilibrium conditions. The level of γ′ dissolution determines the gradient in γ′ size distribution along the build. After thermal cycling, the final cooling to room temperature has further significant impacts on the final γ′ size, morphology, and distribution.
  • 4.A negligible amount of γ′ forms in the first deposited layer before subsequent layer deposition, and a small amount of γ′ may also form in the powder induced by the 1000 °C elevated build temperature before melting.

Our findings confirm the suitability of MatCalc to predict the microstructural evolution at various positions throughout a build in a Ni-based superalloy during E-PBF. It also showcases the suitability of a tool which was originally developed for traditional thermo-mechanical processing of alloys to the new additive manufacturing context. Our simulation capabilities are likely extendable to other alloy systems that undergo solid-state phase transformations implemented in MatCalc (various steels, Ni-based superalloys, and Al-alloys amongst others) as well as other AM processes such as L-DED and L-PBF which have different thermal cycle characteristics. New tools to predict the microstructural evolution and properties during metal AM are important as they provide new insights into the complexities of AM. This will enable control and design of AM microstructures towards advanced materials properties and performances.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Primig Sophie: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Resources, Project administration, Funding acquisition, Conceptualization. Adomako Nana Kwabena: Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing, Visualization, Software, Investigation, Formal analysis, Conceptualization. Haghdadi Nima: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Project administration, Methodology, Conceptualization. Dingle James F.L.: Methodology, Conceptualization, Software, Writing – review & editing, Visualization. Kozeschnik Ernst: Writing – review & editing, Software, Methodology. Liao Xiaozhou: Writing – review & editing, Project administration, Funding acquisition. Ringer Simon P: Writing – review & editing, Project administration, Funding acquisition.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


This research was sponsored by the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science under the auspices of the AUSMURI program – which is a part of the Commonwealth’s Next Generation Technologies Fund. The authors acknowledge the facilities and the scientific and technical assistance at the Electron Microscope Unit (EMU) within the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre (MWAC) at UNSW Sydney and Microscopy Australia. Nana Adomako is supported by a UNSW Scientia PhD scholarship. Michael Haines’ (UNSW Sydney) contribution to the revised version of the original manuscript is thankfully acknowledged.

Appendix A. Supplementary material

Download : Download Word document (462KB)

Supplementary material.

Data Availability

Data will be made available on request.


Fig. 7.Simulation results by single external force (left: rainfall, right: storm surge)

연안 지역의 복합 외력에 의한 침수 특성 분석

Analysis on inundation characteristics by compound external forces in coastal areas

연안 지역의 복합 외력에 의한 침수 특성 분석

Taeuk Kanga, Dongkyun Sunb, Sangho Leec*
강 태욱a, 선 동균b, 이 상호c*

aResearch Professor, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Pukyong National University, Busan, Korea
bResearcher, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Pukyong National University, Busan, Korea
cProfessor, Department of Civil Engineering, Pukyong National University, Busan, Korea
a부경대학교 방재연구소 전임연구교수
b부경대학교 방재연구소 연구원
c부경대학교 공과대학 토목공학과 교수
*Corresponding Author


연안 지역은 강우, 조위, 월파 등 여러가지 외력에 의해 침수가 발생될 수 있다. 이에 이 연구에서는 연안 지역에서 발생될 수 있는 단일 및 복합 외력에 의한 지역별 침수 특성을 분석하였다. 연구에서 고려한 외력은 강우와 폭풍 해일에 의한 조위 및 월파이고, 분석 대상지역은 남해안 및 서해안의 4개 지역이다. 유역의 강우-유출 및 2차원 지표면 침수 분석에는 XP-SWMM이 사용되었고, 폭풍 해일에 의한 외력인 조위 및 월파량 산정에는 ADCSWAN (ADCIRC와 UnSWAN) 모형과 FLOW-3D 모형이 각각 활용되었다. 단일 외력을 이용한 분석 결과, 대부분의 연안 지역에서는 강우에 의한 침수 영향보다 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 영향이 크게 나타났다. 복합 외력에 의한 침수 분석 결과는 대체로 단일 외력에 의한 침수 모의 결과를 중첩시켜 나타낸 결과와 유사하였다. 다만, 특정 지역에서는 복합 외력을 고려함에 따라 단일 외력만을 고려한 침수모의에서 나타나지 않았던 새로운 침수 영역이 발생하기도 하였다. 이러한 지역의 침수 피해 저감을 위해서는 복합 외력을 고려한 분석이 요구되는 것으로 판단되었다.


연안 지역

침수 분석


폭풍 해일

복합 외력

The various external forces can cause inundation in coastal areas. This study is to analyze regional characteristics caused by single or compound external forces that can occur in coastal areas. Storm surge (tide level and wave overtopping) and rainfall were considered as the external forces in this study. The inundation analysis were applied to four coastal areas, located on the west and south coast in Republic of Korea. XP-SWMM was used to simulate rainfall-runoff phenomena and 2D ground surface inundation for watershed. A coupled model of ADCIRC and SWAN (ADCSWAN) was used to analyze tide level by storm surge and the FLOW-3D model was used to estimate wave overtopping. As a result of using a single external force, the inundation influence due to storm surge in most of the coastal areas was greater than rainfall. The results of using compound external forces were quite similar to those combined using one external force independently. However, a case of considering compound external forces sometimes created new inundation areas that didn’t appear when considering only a single external force. The analysis considering compound external forces was required to reduce inundation damage in these areas.


Coastal area

Inundation analysis


Storm surge

Compound external forces


1. 서 론

우리나라는 반도에 위치하여 삼면이 바다로 둘러싸여 있는 지리적 특성을 가지고 있다. 이에 따라 해양 산업을 중심으로 부산, 인천, 울산 등 대규모의 광역도시가 발달하였을 뿐만 아니라, 창원, 포항, 군산, 목포, 여수 등의 중․소규모 도시들도 발달되어 있다. 또한, 최근에는 연안 지역이 바다를 전망으로 하는 입지 조건을 가지고 있어 개발 선호도가 높고, 이에 따라 부산시 해운대의 마린시티, 엘시티와 같은 주거 및 상업시설의 개발이 지속되고 있다(Kang et al., 2019b).

한편, 최근 기후변화에 따른 지구 온난화 현상으로 평균 해수면이 상승하고, 해수면 온도도 상승하면서 태풍 및 강우의 강도가 커지고 있어 전 세계적으로 자연 재해로 인한 피해가 증가하고 있다(Kim et al., 2016). 실제로 2020년에는 최장기간의 장마가 발생하여 부산, 울산은 물론, 전국에서 50명의 인명 피해와 3,489세대의 이재민이 발생하였다1). 특히, 연안 지역은 강우, 만조 시 해수면 상승, 폭풍 해일(storm surge)에 의한 월파(wave overtopping) 등 복합적인 외력(compound external forces)에 의해 침수될 수 있다(Lee et al., 2020). 일례로, 2016년 태풍 차바 시 부산시 해운대구의 마린시티는 강우와 폭풍 해일에 의한 월파가 발생함에 따라 대규모 침수를 유발하였다(Kang et al., 2019b). 또한, 2020년 7월 23일에 부산에서는 시간당 81.6 mm의 집중호우와 약최고고조위를 상회하는 만조가 동시에 발생하였고, 이로 인해 감조 하천인 동천의 수위가 크게 상승하여 하천이 범람하였다(KSCE, 2021).

연안 지역의 복합 외력을 고려한 침수 분석에 관한 사례로서, 우선 강우와 조위를 고려한 연구 사례는 다음과 같다. Han et al. (2014)은 XP-SWMM을 이용하여 창원시 배수 구역을 대상으로 침수 모의를 수행하였는데, 연안 도시의 침수 모의에는 조위의 영향을 반드시 고려해야 함을 제시하였다. Choi et al. (2018a)은 경남 사천시 선구동 일대에 대하여 초과 강우 및 해수면 상승 시나리오를 조합하여 침수 분석을 수행하였다. Choi et al. (2018b)은 XP-SWMM을 이용하여 여수시 연등천 및 여수시청 지역에 대하여 강우 시나리오와 해수위 상승 시나리오를 고려한 복합 원인에 의한 침수 모의를 수행하여 홍수예경보 기준표를 작성하였다. 한편, 강우, 조위, 월파를 고려한 연구 사례로서, Song et al. (2017)은 부산시 해운대구 수영만 일원에 대하여 XP-SWMM으로 월파량의 적용 유무에 따른 침수 면적을 비교하였다. Suh and Kim (2018)은 부산시 마린시티 지역을 대상으로 태풍 차바 때 EurOtop의 경험식을 ADSWAN에 적용하여 월파량을 반영하였다. Chen et al. (2017)은 TELEMAC-2D 및 SWMM을 기반으로 한 극한 강우, 월파 및 조위를 고려하여 중국 해안 원자력 발전소의 침수를 예측하고 분석하기 위한 결합 모델을 개발한 바 있다. 한편, Lee et al. (2020)은 수리‧수문학 분야와 해양공학 분야에서 사용되는 물리 모형의 기술적 연계를 통해 연안 지역의 침수 모의의 재현성을 높였다.

상기의 연구들은 공통적으로 연안 지역에 대하여 복합 외력을 고려했을 때 발생되는 침수 현상의 재현 또는 예측을 목적으로 수행되었다. 이 연구는 이와 차별하여 복합 외력을 고려하는 경우 나타날 수 있는 연안 지역의 침수 특성 분석을 목적으로 수행되었다. 이를 위해 단일 외력을 독립적으로 고려했을 때 발생되는 침수 양상과 동시에 고려하는 경우의 침수 현상을 비교, 분석하였다. 복합 외력에 의한 지역적 침수 특성 분석은 우리나라 남해안과 서해안에 위치한 4개 지역에 대하여 적용되었다.

1) 장연제, 47일째 이어진 긴 장마, 50명 인명피해… 9년만에 최대, 동아닷컴, 2020년 8월 9일 수정, 2021년 3월 4일 접속,

2. 연구 방법

2.1 연안 지역의 침수 영향 인자

연안 지역의 침수는 크게 세 가지의 메카니즘으로 발생될 수 있다. 우선, 연안 지역은 바다와 인접하고 있기 때문에 그 영향을 직접적으로 받는다. Kim (2018)에 의하면, 연안 지역의 침수는 폭풍 해일에 의해 상승한 조위와 월파로 인해 발생될 수 있다(Table 1). 특히, 경상남도의 창원과 통영, 인천광역시의 소래포구 어시장 등 남해안 및 서해안 지역의 일부는 백중사리, 슈퍼문(super moon) 등 만조 시 조위의 상승으로 인한 침수가 발생하는 지역이 존재한다(Kang et al., 2019a). 두 번째는 강우에 의한 내수 침수 발생이다. ME (2011)에서는 도시 지역의 우수 관거를 10 ~ 30년 빈도로 계획하도록 지정하고 있고, 펌프 시설은 30 ~ 50년 빈도의 홍수를 배수시킬 수 있도록 정하고 있다. 하지만 최근에는 기후변화의 영향으로 도시 지역 배수시설의 설계 빈도를 초과하는 강우가 빈번하게 나타나고 있다. 실제로 2016년의 태풍 차바 시 울산 기상관측소에 관측된 시간 최대 강우량은 106.0 mm로서, 이는 300년 빈도 이상의 강우량에 해당하였다(Kang et al., 2019a). 따라서 배수시설의 설계 빈도 이상의 강우는 연안 도시 지역의 침수를 유발할 수 있다. 세 번째, 하천이 인접한 연안 도시에서는 하천의 범람으로 인해 침수가 발생할 수 있다. 하천의 경우, 기본계획이 수립되기는 하지만, 설계 빈도를 상회하는 강우의 발생, 제방, 수문 등 홍수 방어시설의 기능 저하, 예산 등의 문제로 하천기본계획 이행의 지연 등에 의해 범람할 가능성이 존재한다.

Table 1.

Type of natural hazard damage in coastal areas (Kim, 2018)

ItemRisk factor
Facilities damage∙ Breaking of coastal facilities by wave
– Breakwater, revetment, lighters wharf etc.
∙ Local scouring at the toe of the structures by wave
∙ Road collapse by wave overtopping
Inundation damage∙ Inundation damage by wave overtopping
∙ Inundation of coastal lowlands by storm surge
Erosion damage∙ Backshore erosion due to high swell waves
∙ Shoreline changes caused by construction of coastal erosion control structure
∙ Sediment transport due to the construction of artificial structures

상기의 내용을 종합하면, 연안 지역은 조위 및 월파에 의한 침수, 강우에 의한 내수 침수, 하천 범람에 의한 침수로 구분될 수 있다. 이 연구에서는 폭풍 해일에 의한 조위 상승 및 월파와 강우를 연안 지역의 침수 유발 외력으로 고려하였다. 하천 범람의 경우, 상대적으로 사례가 희소하여 제외하였다.

2.2 복합 외력을 고려한 침수 모의 방법

이 연구에서는 조위 및 월파와 강우를 연안 지역의 침수 발생에 관한 외력 조건으로 고려하였다. 따라서 해당 외력 조건을 고려하여 침수 분석을 수행할 수 있어야 한다. 이와 관련하여 Lee et al. (2020)은 Fig. 1과 같이 수리‧수문 및 해양공학 분야에서 사용되는 물리 기반 모형의 연계를 통해 조위, 월파, 강우를 고려한 침수 분석 방법을 제시하였고, 이 연구에서는 해당 방법을 이용하였다.
Fig. 1.

Connection among the models for inundation analysis in coastal areas (Lee et al., 2020)

우선, 태풍에 의해 발생되는 폭풍 해일의 영향을 분석하기 위해서는 태풍에 의해 발생되는 기압 강하, 해상풍, 진행 속도 등을 고려하여 해수면의 변화 양상 및 조석-해일-파랑을 충분히 재현 가능해야 한다. 이 연구에서는 국내․외에서 검증 및 공인된 폭풍 해일 모형인 ADCIRC 모형과 파랑 모형인 UnSWAN이 결합된 ADCSWAN (coupled model of ADCIRC and UnSWAN)을 이용하였다. 정수압 가정의 ADCSWAN은 월파량 산정에 단순 경험식을 적용하는 단점이 있지만 넓은 영역을 모의할 수 있고, FLOW-3D는 해안선의 경계를 고해상도로 재현이 가능하다. 이에 연구에서는 먼 바다 영역에 대해서는 ADCSWAN을 이용하여 분석하였고, 연안 주변의 바다 영역과 월파량 산정에 대해서는 FLOW-3D 모형을 이용하였다. 한편, 연안 지역의 침수 모의를 위해서는 유역에서 발생하는 강우-유출 현상과 우수 관거 등의 배수 체계에 대한 분석이 가능해야 한다. 또한, 배수 체계로부터 범람한 물이 지표면을 따라 흘러가는 현상을 해석할 수 있어야 하고, 바다의 조위 및 월파량을 경계조건으로 반영할 수 있어야 한다. 이 연구에서는 이러한 현상을 모의할 수 있고, 도시 침수 모의에 활용도가 높은 XP-SWMM을 이용하였다.

2.3 침수 분석 대상지역

연구의 대상지역은 조위 및 월파에 의한 침수와 강우에 의한 내수 침수의 영향이 복합적으로 발생할 수 있는 남해안과 서해안에 위치한 4개 지역이다. Table 2는 침수 분석 대상지역을 정리하여 나타낸 표이고, Fig. 2는 각 지역의 유역 경계를 나타낸 그림이다.

Table 2.

Target region for inundation analysis

ClassificationAdministrative districtTarget regionArea
Main cause of inundationPump
Number of
major outfall
The south
Haundae-gu, BusanMarine City area0.53Wave overtopping9
Haundae-gu, BusanCentum City area4.76Poor interior drainage at high tide level12
The west
GunsanJungang-dong area0.79Poor interior drainage at high tide level23
BoryeongOcheon Port area0.41High tide level5
Fig. 2.

Watershed area

남해안의 분석 대상지역 중 부산시 해운대구의 마린시티는 바다 조망을 중심으로 조성된 주거지 및 상업시설 중심의 개발지역이다. 마린시티는 2016년 태풍 차바 및 2018년 태풍 콩레이 등 태풍 내습 시 월파에 의한 해수 월류로 인해 도로 및 상가 일부가 침수를 겪은 지역이다. 부산시 해운대구의 센텀시티는 과거 수영만 매립지였던 곳에 조성된 주거지 및 상업시설 중심의 신도시 지역이다. 센텀시티 유역의 북쪽은 해발고도 El. 634 m의 장산이 위치하는 등 산지 특성도 가지고 있어 상대적으로 유역 면적이 넓고, 배수시설의 규모도 크고 복잡하다. 하지만 수영강 하구의 저지대 지역에 위치함에 따라 강우 시 내수 배제가 불량하고, 특히 만조 시 침수가 잦은 지역이다.

서해안 분석 대상지역 중 전라북도 군산시의 중앙동 일원은 군산시 내항 내측에 조성된 구도시로서, 금강 및 경포천 하구에 위치하는 저지대이다. 이에 따라 군산시 풍수해저감종합계획에서는 해당 지역을 3개의 영역으로 구분하여 내수재해 위험지구(영동지구, 중동지구, 경암지구)로 지정하였고, 이 연구에서는 해당 지역을 모두 고려하였다. 한편, 군산시 중앙동 일원은 특히, 만조 시 내수 배제가 매우 불량하여 2개의 펌프시설이 운영되고 있다. 충청남도 보령시의 오천면에 위치한 오천항은 배후의 산지를 포함한 소규모 유역에 위치한다. 서해안의 특성에 따라 조석 간만의 차가 크고, 특히 태풍 내습 시 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수가 잦은 지역이다. 산지의 강우-유출수는 복개된 2개의 수로를 통해 바다로 배제되고, 상가들이 위치한 연안 주변 지역에는 강우-유출수 배제를 위한 3개의 배수 체계가 구성되어 있다.

3. 연구 결과

3.1 침수 모의 모형 구축

XP-SWMM을 이용하여 분석 대상지역별 침수 모의 모형을 구축하였다. 적절한 침수 분석 수행을 위해 지역별 수치지형도, 도시 공간 정보 시스템(urban information system, UIS), 하수 관망도 등의 수치 자료와 현장 조사를 통해 유역의 배수 체계를 구성하였다. 그리고 2차원 침수 분석을 위해 무인 드론 및 육상 라이다(LiDAR) 측량을 수행하여 평면해상도가 1 m 이하인 고해상도 수치지형모형(digital terrain model, DTM)을 구성하였고, 침수 모의 격자를 생성하였다.

Fig. 3은 XP-SWMM의 상세 구축 사례로서 부산시 마린시티 배수 유역에 대한 소유역 및 관거 분할 등을 통해 구성한 배수 체계와 고해상도 측량 결과를 이용하여 구성한 수치표면모형(digital surface model, DSM)을 나타낸다. Fig. 4는 각 대상지역에 대해 XP-SWMM을 이용하여 구축한 침수 모의 모형을 나타낸다. 침수 분석을 위해서는 침수 모의 영역에 대한 설정이 필요한데, 다수의 사전 모의를 통해 유역 내에서 침수가 발생되는 지역을 검토하여 결정하였다.
Fig. 3.

Analysis of watershed drainage system and high-resolution survey for Marine City
Fig. 4.

Simulation model for inundation analysis by target region using XP-SWMM

한편, 이 연구에서는 월파량 및 조위의 산정 과정과 침수 모의 모형의 보정에 관한 내용 등은 다루지 않았다. 관련된 내용은 선행 연구인 Kang et al. (2019b)와 Lee et al. (2020)을 참조할 수 있다.

3.2 침수 모의 설정

3.2.1 분석 방법

복합 외력에 의한 침수 영향을 검토하기 위해서는 외력 조건에 대한 빈도와 지속기간의 설정이 필요하다. 이 연구에서는 재해 현상이 충분히 나타날 수 있도록 강우와 조위 및 월파의 빈도를 모두 100년으로 설정하였다. 이때, 조위와 월파량의 산정에는 만조(약최고고조위) 시, 100년 빈도에 해당하는 태풍 내습에 따른 폭풍 해일의 발생 조건을 고려하였다.

지역별 강우 발생 특성과 유역 특성을 고려하기 위해 MOIS (2017)의 방재성능목표 기준에 따라 임계 지속기간을 결정하여 대상지역별 강우의 지속기간으로 설정하였다. 이때, 강우의 시간 분포는 MLTM (2011)의 Huff 3분위를 이용하였다. 그리고 조위와 월파의 경우, 일반적인 폭풍 해일의 지속기간을 고려하여 5시간으로 결정하였다. 한편, 침수 모의를 위한 계산 시간 간격, 2차원 모의 격자 등의 입력자료는 분석 대상지역의 유역 규모와 침수 분석 대상 영역을 고려하여 결정하였다. 참고로 침수 분석에 사용된 수치지형모형은 1 m 급의 고해상도로 구성되었지만, 2차원 침수 모의 격자의 크기는 지역별로 3 ~ 4 m이다. 이는 연구에서 사용된 XP-SWMM의 격자 수(100,000개) 제약에 따른 설정이나, Sun (2021)은 민감도 분석을 통해 2차원 침수 분석을 위한 적정 격자 크기를 3 ~ 4.5 m로 제시한 바 있다.

Table 3은 이 연구에서 설정한 침수 모의 조건과 분석 방법을 정리하여 나타낸 표이다.

Table 3.

Simulation condition and method

ClassificationTarget regionSimulation conditionSimulation method
RainfallStorm surgeSimulation time interval2D
grid size
The south coastMarine City area100 yr1 hr3rd quartile
of Huff’s
1005 hr5 min10 sec1 sec3 m
Centum City area1 hr1005 min10 sec1 sec4 m
The west coastJungang-dong area2 hr1005 min10 sec1 sec3.5 m
Ocheon Port area1 hr1001 min10 sec1 sec3 m

3.2.2 복합 재해의 동시 고려

이 연구의 대상지역들은 모두 소규모의 해안가 도시지역이고, 이러한 지역에 대한 강우의 임계지속기간은 1시간 ~ 2시간이나, 이 연구에서 분석한 폭풍 해일의 지속기간은 5시간으로 강우의 지속기간과 폭풍 해일의 지속기간이 상이하다. 이에 이 연구에서는 서로 다른 지속기간을 가진 강우와 폭풍 해일 또는 조위를 고려하기 위해 강우의 중심과 폭풍 해일의 중심이 동일한 시간에 위치하도록 설정하였다(Fig. 5).

XP-SWMM은 폭풍 해일이 지속되는 5시간 전체를 모의하도록 설정하였고, 폭풍 해일이 가장 큰 시점에 강우의 중심이 위치하도록 강우 발생 시기를 결정하였다. 다만, 부산 마린시티의 경우, 폭풍 해일에 의한 피해가 주로 월파에 의해 발생되므로 강우의 중심과 월파의 중심을 일치시켰고(Fig. 5(a)), 상대적으로 조위의 영향이 큰 3개 지역은 강우의 중심과 조위의 중심을 맞추었다. Fig. 5(b)는 군산시 중앙동 지역의 복합 외력에 의한 침수 분석에 사용된 강우와 조위의 조합이다.

한편, 100년 빈도의 확률강우량만을 고려한 침수 분석에서는 유역 유출부의 경계조건으로 우수 관거의 설계 조건을 고려하여 약최고고조위가 일정하게 유지되도록 설정하였다.
Fig. 5.

Consideration of external force conditions with different durations

3.2.3 XP-SWMM의 월파량 고려

XP-SWMM에 ADCSWAN 및 FLOW-3D 모형에 의해 산정된 월파량을 입력하기 위해 해안가 지역에 절점을 생성하여 월파 현상을 구현하였다. XP-SWMM에서 월파량을 입력하기 위한 절점의 위치는 FLOW-3D 모형에서 월파량을 산정한 격자의 중심 위치이다.

Fig. 6(a)는 마린시티 지역에 대한 월파량 입력 지점을 나타낸 것으로서, 유역 경계 주변에 동일 간격으로 원으로 표시한 지점들이 해당된다. Fig. 6(b)는 XP-SWMM에 월파량 입력 지점들을 반영하고, 하나의 절점에 월파량 시계열을 입력한 화면을 나타낸다.
Fig. 6.

Considering wave overtopping on XP-SWMM

3.3 침수 모의 결과

3.3.1 단일 외력에 의한 침수 모의 결과

Fig. 7은 단일 외력을 고려한 지역별 침수 모의 결과이다. 즉, Fig. 7의 왼쪽 그림들은 지역별로 100년 빈도 강우에 의한 침수 모의 결과를 나타내고, Fig. 7의 오른쪽 그림들은 만조 시 100년 빈도 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 모의 결과이다. 대체로 강우에 의한 침수 영역은 유역 중․상류 지역의 유역 전반에 걸쳐 발생하였고, 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 영역은 해안가 전면부에 위치하는 것을 볼 수 있다. 이는 폭풍 해일에 의한 조위 상승과 월파의 영향이 상류로 갈수록 감소하기 때문이다.

한편, 4개 지역 모두에서 공통적으로 강우에 비해 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 영향이 상대적으로 크게 분석되었다. 이러한 결과는 연안 지역의 경우, 폭풍 해일에 대비한 침수 피해 저감 노력이 보다 중요함을 의미한다.
Fig. 7.

Simulation results by single external force (left: rainfall, right: storm surge)

3.3.2 복합 외력에 의한 침수 모의 결과

Fig. 8은 복합 외력을 고려한 지역별 침수 모의 결과이다. 즉, 강우 및 폭풍 해일을 동시에 고려함에 따라 발생된 침수 영역을 나타낸다. 복합 외력을 고려하는 경우, 단일 외력만을 고려한 분석 결과(Fig. 7)보다 침수 영역은 넓어졌고, 침수심은 깊어졌다.

복합 외력에 의한 침수 분석 결과는 대체로 단일 외력에 의한 침수 모의 결과를 중첩시켜 나타낸 결과와 유사하였고, 이는 일반적으로 예상할 수 있는 결과이다. 주목할만한 결과는 군산시 중앙동의 침수 분석에서 나타났다. 즉, 군산시 중앙동의 경우, 단일 외력만을 고려한 침수 모의 결과에서 나타나지 않았던 새로운 침수 영역이 발생하였다(Fig. 8(c)). 이와 관련된 상세 내용은 3.4절의 고찰에서 기술하였다.
Fig. 8.

Simulation results by compound external forces

3.4 결과 고찰

외력 조건별 침수의 영향을 정량적으로 비교하기 위해 침수 면적을 이용하였다. 이 연구에서는 강우만에 의해 유발된 침수 면적을 기준(기준값: 1)으로 하고, 폭풍 해일(조위+월파량)에 의한 침수 면적과 복합 외력에 의한 침수 면적의 상대적 비율로 분석하였다(Table 4).

Table 4.

Impact evaluation for inundation area by external force

ConditionMarine City, BusanCentum City, BusanJungang-dong area,
Ocheon Port area,
Inundation area
RateInundation area
RateInundation area
RateInundation area
external force
Rainfall (①)0.01641.00.07591.00.04571.00.01751.0
Storm surge (②)0.03632.210.06850.900.14633.200.04122.35
external forces

분석 결과, 부산 센텀시티를 제외한 3개 지역은 모두 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 면적이 강우에 의한 침수 면적에 비해 2.2 ~ 3.2배 넓은 것으로 분석되었다. 한편, 복합 외력에 의한 침수 면적은 마린시티와 센텀시티의 경우, 각각의 외력에 의한 침수 면적의 합과 유사하게 나타났다. 이는 각각의 외력에 의한 침수 영역이 상이하여 거의 중복되지 않음을 의미한다. 반면에, 오천항에서는 각각의 외력에 의한 침수 면적의 합이 복합 외력에 의한 면적보다 크게 나타났다. 이는 오천항의 경우, 유역면적이 작고 배수 체계가 비교적 단순하여 강우와 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 영역이 중복되기 때문인 것으로 분석되었다(Fig. 7(d)).

군산시 중앙동 일대의 경우, 복합 외력에 의한 침수 면적이 각각의 독립적인 외력 조건에 의한 침수 면적의 합에 비해 37.1% 크게 나타났다. 이러한 현상의 원인을 분석하기 위해 복합 외력 조건에서만 나타난 우수 관거(Fig. 8(c)의 A 구간)에 대하여 종단을 검토하였다(Fig. 9). Fig. 9(a)는 강우만에 의해 분석된 우수 관거 내 흐름 종단을 나타내고, Fig. 9(b)는 폭풍 해일만에 의한 우수 관거의 종단이다. 그림을 통해 각각의 독립적인 외력 조건 하에서는 해당 구간에서 침수가 발생되지 않은 것을 볼 수 있다. 다만, 강우만을 고려하더라도 우수 관거는 만관이 된 상태를 확인할 수 있다(Fig. 9(a)). 반면에, 만관 상태에서 폭풍 해일이 함께 고려됨에 따라 해수 범람과 조위 상승에 의해 우수 배제가 불량하게 되었고, 이로 인해 침수가 유발된 것으로 분석되었다(Fig. 9(c)). 따라서 이러한 지역은 복합 외력에 대한 취약지구로 판단할 수 있고, 단일 외력의 고려만으로는 침수를 예상하기 어려운 지역임을 알 수 있다.
Fig. 9.

A part of drainage profiles by external force in Jungang-dong area, Gunsan

4. 결 론

이 연구에서는 외력 조건에 따른 연안 지역의 침수 특성을 분석하였다. 연구에서 고려된 외력 조건은 두 가지로서 강우와 폭풍 해일(조위와 월파)이다. 분석 대상 연안 지역으로는 남해안에 위치하는 2개 지역(부산시 해운대구의 마린시티와 센텀시티)과 서해안의 2개 지역(군산시 중앙동 일원 및 보령시 오천항)이 선정되었다.

복합 외력을 고려한 연안 지역의 침수 모의를 위해서는 유역의 강우-유출 현상과 바다의 조위 및 월파량을 경계조건으로 반영할 수 있는 침수 모의 모형이 요구되는데, 이 연구에서는 XP-SWMM을 이용하였다. 한편, 조위 및 월파량 산정에는 ADCSWAN (ADCIRC와 UnSWAN) 및 FLOW-3D 모형이 이용되었다.

연안 지역별 침수 모의는 100년 빈도의 강우와 폭풍 해일을 독립적으로 고려한 경우와 복합적으로 고려한 경우를 구분하여 수행되었다. 우선, 외력을 독립적으로 고려한 결과, 대체로 폭풍 해일만 고려한 경우가 강우만 고려한 경우에 비해 침수 영향이 크게 나타났다. 따라서 연안 지역의 경우, 폭풍 해일에 의한 침수 피해 방지 계획이 상대적으로 중요한 것으로 분석되었다. 두 번째, 복합 외력에 의한 침수 분석 결과는 대체로 단일 외력에 의한 침수 모의 결과를 중첩시켜 나타낸 결과와 유사하였다. 다만, 특정 지역에서는 복합 외력을 고려함에 따라 단일 외력만을 고려한 침수 모의에서 나타나지 않았던 새로운 침수 영역이 발생하기도 하였다. 이러한 결과는 독립적인 외력 조건에서는 우수 관거가 만관 또는 그 이하의 상태가 되지만, 두 가지의 외력이 동시에 고려됨에 따라 우수 관거의 통수능 한계를 초과하여 나타났다. 이러한 지역은 복합 외력에 대한 취약지구로 판단되었고, 해당 지역의 적절한 침수 방지 대책 수립을 위해서는 복합적인 외력 조건이 고려되어야 함을 시사하였다.

현행, 자연재해저감종합계획에서는 침수와 관련된 재해 원인 지역을 내수재해, 해안재해, 하천재해 등으로 구분하고 있다. 하지만 이 연구에서 검토된 바와 같이, 연안 지역의 침수 원인은 복합적으로 나타날 뿐만 아니라, 복합 외력을 고려함에 따라 추가적으로 나타날 수 있는 침수 위험 지역도 존재한다. 따라서 기존의 획일적인 재해 원인의 구분보다는 지역의 특성에 맞는 복합적인 재해 원인을 검토할 필요가 있음을 제안한다.


본 논문은 행정안전부 극한 재난대응 기반기술 개발사업의 일환인 “해안가 복합재난 위험지역 피해저감 기술개발(연구과제번호: 2018-MOIS31-008)”의 지원으로 수행되었습니다.



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The distribution of the computed maximum current speed during the entire duration of the NAMI DANCE and FLOW-3D simulations. The resolution of computational domain is 10 m

Performance Comparison of NAMI DANCE and FLOW-3D® Models in Tsunami Propagation, Inundation and Currents using NTHMP Benchmark Problems

NTHMP 벤치마크 문제를 사용하여 쓰나미 전파, 침수 및 해류에서 NAMI DANCE 및 FLOW-3D® 모델의 성능 비교

Pure and Applied Geophysics volume 176, pages3115–3153 (2019)Cite this article


Field observations provide valuable data regarding nearshore tsunami impact, yet only in inundation areas where tsunami waves have already flooded. Therefore, tsunami modeling is essential to understand tsunami behavior and prepare for tsunami inundation. It is necessary that all numerical models used in tsunami emergency planning be subject to benchmark tests for validation and verification. This study focuses on two numerical codes, NAMI DANCE and FLOW-3D®, for validation and performance comparison. NAMI DANCE is an in-house tsunami numerical model developed by the Ocean Engineering Research Center of Middle East Technical University, Turkey and Laboratory of Special Research Bureau for Automation of Marine Research, Russia. FLOW-3D® is a general purpose computational fluid dynamics software, which was developed by scientists who pioneered in the design of the Volume-of-Fluid technique. The codes are validated and their performances are compared via analytical, experimental and field benchmark problems, which are documented in the ‘‘Proceedings and Results of the 2011 National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) Model Benchmarking Workshop’’ and the ‘‘Proceedings and Results of the NTHMP 2015 Tsunami Current Modeling Workshop”. The variations between the numerical solutions of these two models are evaluated through statistical error analysis.

현장 관찰은 연안 쓰나미 영향에 관한 귀중한 데이터를 제공하지만 쓰나미 파도가 이미 범람한 침수 지역에서만 가능합니다. 따라서 쓰나미 모델링은 쓰나미 행동을 이해하고 쓰나미 범람에 대비하는 데 필수적입니다.

쓰나미 비상 계획에 사용되는 모든 수치 모델은 검증 및 검증을 위한 벤치마크 테스트를 받아야 합니다. 이 연구는 검증 및 성능 비교를 위해 NAMI DANCE 및 FLOW-3D®의 두 가지 숫자 코드에 중점을 둡니다.

NAMI DANCE는 터키 중동 기술 대학의 해양 공학 연구 센터와 러시아 해양 연구 자동화를 위한 특별 조사국 연구소에서 개발한 사내 쓰나미 수치 모델입니다. FLOW-3D®는 Volume-of-Fluid 기술의 설계를 개척한 과학자들이 개발한 범용 전산 유체 역학 소프트웨어입니다.

코드의 유효성이 검증되고 분석, 실험 및 현장 벤치마크 문제를 통해 코드의 성능이 비교되며, 이는 ‘2011년 NTHMP(National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program) 모델 벤치마킹 워크숍의 절차 및 결과’와 ”절차 및 NTHMP 2015 쓰나미 현재 모델링 워크숍 결과”. 이 두 모델의 수치 해 사이의 변동은 통계적 오류 분석을 통해 평가됩니다.

The distribution of the computed maximum current speed during the entire duration of the NAMI DANCE and FLOW-3D simulations. The resolution of computational domain is 10 m
The distribution of the computed maximum current speed during the entire duration of the NAMI DANCE and FLOW-3D simulations. The resolution of computational domain is 10 m


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The authors wish to thank Dr. Andrey Zaytsev due to his undeniable contributions to the development of in-house numerical model, NAMI DANCE. The Turkish branch of Flow Science, Inc. is also acknowledged. Finally, the National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP), who provided most of the benchmark data, is appreciated. This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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  1. Deniz Velioglu SogutPresent address: 1212 Computer Science, Department of Civil Engineering, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, 11794, USA

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  1. Middle East Technical University, 06800, Ankara, TurkeyDeniz Velioglu Sogut & Ahmet Cevdet Yalciner

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Correspondence to Deniz Velioglu Sogut.

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Velioglu Sogut, D., Yalciner, A.C. Performance Comparison of NAMI DANCE and FLOW-3D® Models in Tsunami Propagation, Inundation and Currents using NTHMP Benchmark Problems. Pure Appl. Geophys. 176, 3115–3153 (2019).

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  • Received22 December 2017
  • Revised16 May 2018
  • Accepted24 May 2018
  • Published07 June 2018
  • Issue Date01 July 2019
  • DOI


  • Tsunami
  • depth-averaged shallow water
  • Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes
  • benchmarking
  • FLOW-3D®

What’s New – FLOW-3D 2023R2

FLOW-3D 소프트웨어 제품군의 모든 제품은 2023R1에서 IT 관련 개선 사항을 받았습니다. FLOW-3D 2023R1은 이제 Windows 11 및 RHEL 8을 지원합니다. 누락된 종속성을 보고하도록 Linux 설치 프로그램이 개선되었으며 더 이상 루트 수준 권한이 필요하지 않으므로 설치가 더 쉽고 안전해집니다. 또한 워크플로를 자동화한 사용자를 위해 입력 파일 변환기에 명령줄 인터페이스를 추가하여 스크립트 환경에서도 워크플로가 업데이트된 입력 파일로 작동하는지 확인할 수 있습니다.

확장된 PQ 2 분석

제조에 사용되는 유압 시스템은 PQ 2 곡선을 사용하여 모델링할 수 있습니다. 장치의 세부 사항을 건너뛰고 흐름에 미치는 영향을 포함하기 위해 질량-운동량 소스 또는 속도 경계 조건을 사용하여 유압 시스템을 근사화하는 것이 편리한 단순화인 경우가 많습니다. 기존 PQ 2 분석 모델을 확장하여 이러한 유형의 기하학적 단순화를 허용하면서도 여전히 현실적인 결과를 제공합니다. 이것은 시뮬레이션 시간과 모델 복잡성의 감소로 해석됩니다.

FLOW-3D 2022R2 의 새로운 기능

FLOW-3D 2022R2 제품군 의 출시와 함께 Flow Science는 워크스테이션과 FLOW-3D 의 HPC 버전 을 통합하여 단일 노드 CPU 구성에서 다중 구성에 이르기까지 모든 유형의 하드웨어 아키텍처를 활용할 수 있는 단일 솔버 엔진을 제공합니다. 노드 병렬 고성능 컴퓨팅 실행. 추가 개발에는 점탄성 흐름을 위한 새로운 로그 구조 텐서 방법, 지속적인 솔버 속도 성능 개선, 고급 냉각 채널 및 팬텀 구성 요소 제어, 향상된 연행 공기 기능이 포함됩니다.

통합 솔버

FLOW-3D 제품을 단일 통합 솔버로 마이그레이션하여  로컬 워크스테이션 또는 고성능 컴퓨팅 하드웨어 환경에서 원활하게 실행했습니다.

많은 사용자가 노트북이나 로컬 워크스테이션에서 모델을 실행하지만 고성능 컴퓨팅 클러스터에서 더 큰 모델을 실행합니다. 2022R2 릴리스에서는 통합 솔버를 통해 사용자가 HPC 솔루션에서 OpenMP/MPI 하이브리드 병렬화의 동일한 이점을 활용하여 워크스테이션 및 노트북에서 실행할 수 있습니다.

성능 확장의 예
점점 더 많은 수의 CPU 코어를 사용하는 성능 확장의 예
메쉬 분해의 예
OpenMP/MPI 하이브리드 병렬화를 위한 메시 분해의 예

솔버 성능 개선

멀티 소켓 워크스테이션

멀티 소켓 워크스테이션은 이제 매우 일반적이며 대규모 시뮬레이션을 실행할 수 있습니다. 새로운 통합 솔버를 통해 이러한 유형의 하드웨어를 사용하는 사용자는 일반적으로 HPC 클러스터 구성에서만 사용할 수 있었던 OpenMP/MPI 하이브리드 병렬화를 활용하여 모델을 실행할 수 있는 성능 이점을 볼 수 있습니다.

낮은 수준의 루틴으로 벡터화 및 메모리 액세스 개선

대부분의 테스트 사례에서 10%에서 20% 정도의 성능 향상이 관찰되었으며 일부 사례에서는 20%를 초과하는 런타임 이점이 있었습니다.

정제된 체적 대류 안정성 한계

시간 단계 안정성 한계는 모델 런타임의 주요 동인입니다. 2022R2에서는 새로운 시간 단계 안정성 한계인 3D 대류 안정성 한계를 숫자 위젯에서 사용할 수 있습니다. 실행 중이고 대류가 제한된(cx, cy 또는 cz 제한) 모델의 경우 새 옵션은 30% 정도의 일반적인 속도 향상을 보여주었습니다.

압력 솔버 프리 컨디셔너

경우에 따라 까다로운 흐름 구성의 경우 과도한 압력 솔버 반복으로 인해 실행 시간이 길어질 수 있습니다. 어려운 경우 2022R2에서는 모델이 너무 많이 반복될 때 FLOW-3D가 자동으로 새로운 프리 컨디셔너를 활성화하여 압력 수렴을 돕습니다. 테스트의 런타임이 1.9배에서 335배까지 빨라졌습니다!

점탄성 유체에 대한 로그 형태 텐서 방법

점탄성 유체에 대한 새로운 솔버 옵션을 사용자가 사용할 수 있으며 특히 높은 Weissenberg 수치에 효과적입니다.

점탄성 흐름을 위한 개선된 솔루션
로그 구조 텐서 솔루션을 사용하여 점탄성 흐름에 대한 높은 Weissenberg 수에서 개선된 솔루션의 예. Courtesy MF Tome, et al., J. Non-Newton. 체액. 기계 175-176 (2012) 44–54

활성 시뮬레이션 제어 확장

능동 시뮬레이션 제어 기능은 연속 주조 및 적층 제조 응용 프로그램과 주조 및 기타 여러 열 관리 응용 프로그램에 사용되는 냉각 채널에 일반적으로 사용되는 팬텀 개체를 포함하도록 확장되었습니다.

동적 열 제어의 예
융합 증착 모델링 애플리케이션을 위한 동적 열 제어의 예
가상 물체 속도 제어의 예
산업용 탱크 적용을 위한 동적 냉각 채널 제어의 예
동적 열 제어의 예
연속 주조 애플리케이션을 위한 팬텀 물체 속도 제어의 예

연행 공기 기능 개선

디퓨저 및 유사한 산업용 기포 흐름 응용 분야의 경우 이제 대량 공급원을 사용하여 물 기둥에 공기를 도입할 수 있습니다. 또한 혼입 공기 및 용존 산소의 난류 확산에 대한 기본값이 업데이트되었으며 매우 낮은 공기 농도에 대한 모델 정확도가 향상되었습니다.

디퓨저 모델의 예
디퓨저 모델의 예: 질량원을 사용하여 물기둥에 공기를 도입할 수 있습니다.
Figure 3. Different parts of a Searaser; 1) Buoy 2) Chamber 3) Valves 4) Generator 5) Anchor system

데이터 기반 방법을 활용한 재생 가능 에너지 변환기의 전력 및 수소 생성 예측 지속 가능한 스마트 그리드 사례 연구

Fatemehsadat Mirshafiee1, Emad Shahbazi 2, Mohadeseh Safi 3, Rituraj Rituraj 4,*
1Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran 1999143344 , Iran
2Department of Mechatronic, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran 158754413, Iran
3Department of Mechatronic, Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran 1416634793, Iran
4 Faculty of Informatics, Obuda University, 1023, Budapest, Hungary

  • Correspondence:


본 연구는 지속가능한 에너지 변환기의 전력 및 수소 발생 모델링을 위한 데이터 기반 방법론을 제안합니다. 파고와 풍속을 달리하여 파고와 수소생산을 예측합니다.

또한 이 연구는 파도에서 수소를 추출할 수 있는 가능성을 강조하고 장려합니다. FLOW-3D 소프트웨어 시뮬레이션에서 추출한 데이터와 해양 특수 테스트의 실험 데이터를 사용하여 두 가지 데이터 기반 학습 방법의 비교 분석을 수행합니다.

결과는 수소 생산의 양은 생성된 전력의 양에 비례한다는 것을 보여줍니다. 제안된 재생 에너지 변환기의 신뢰성은 지속 가능한 스마트 그리드 애플리케이션으로 추가로 논의됩니다.

This study proposes a data-driven methodology for modeling power and hydrogen generation of a sustainable energy converter. The wave and hydrogen production at different wave heights and wind speeds are predicted. Furthermore, this research emphasizes and encourages the possibility of extracting hydrogen from ocean waves. By using the extracted data from FLOW-3D software simulation and the experimental data from the special test in the ocean, the comparison analysis of two data-driven learning methods is conducted. The results show that the amount of hydrogen production is proportional to the amount of generated electrical power. The reliability of the proposed renewable energy converter is further discussed as a sustainable smart grid application.

Key words

Cavity, Combustion efficiency, hydrogen fuel, Computational Fluent and Gambit.

Figure 1. The process of power and hydrogen production with Searaser.
Figure 1. The process of power and hydrogen production with Searaser.
Figure 2. The cross-section A-A of the two essential parts of a Searaser
Figure 2. The cross-section A-A of the two essential parts of a Searaser
Figure 3. Different parts of a Searaser; 1) Buoy 2) Chamber 3) Valves 4) Generator 5) Anchor system
Figure 3. Different parts of a Searaser; 1) Buoy 2) Chamber 3) Valves 4) Generator 5) Anchor system
Figure 4. The boundary conditions of the control volume
Figure 4. The boundary conditions of the control volume
Figure 5. The wind velocity during the period of the experimental test
Figure 5. The wind velocity during the period of the experimental test


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Figure 14. Defects: (a) Unmelt defects(Scheme NO.4);(b) Pores defects(Scheme NO.1); (c); Spattering defect (Scheme NO.3); (d) Low overlapping rate defects(Scheme NO.5).

Molten pool structure, temperature and velocity
flow in selective laser melting AlCu5MnCdVA alloy

용융 풀 구조, 선택적 온도 및 속도 흐름 레이저 용융 AlCu5MnCdVA 합금

Pan Lu1 , Zhang Cheng-Lin2,6,Wang Liang3, Liu Tong4 and Liu Jiang-lin5
1 Aviation and Materials College, Anhui Technical College of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, Wuhu Anhui 241000, People’s
Republic of China 2 School of Engineering Science, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei Anhui 230026, People’s Republic of China 3 Anhui Top Additive Manufacturing Technology Co., Ltd., Wuhu Anhui 241300, People’s Republic of China 4 Anhui Chungu 3D Printing Institute of Intelligent Equipment and Industrial Technology, Anhui 241300, People’s Republic of China 5 School of Mechanical and Transportation Engineering, Taiyuan University of Technology, Taiyuan Shanxi 030024, People’s Republic of
China 6 Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail:,,, and


SLM, molten pool, AlCu5MnCdVA alloy, heat flow, velocity flow, numerical simulation


선택적 레이저 용융(SLM)은 열 전달, 용융, 상전이, 기화 및 물질 전달을 포함하는 복잡한 동적 비평형 프로세스인 금속 적층 제조(MAM)에서 가장 유망한 기술 중 하나가 되었습니다. 용융 풀의 특성(구조, 온도 흐름 및 속도 흐름)은 SLM의 최종 성형 품질에 결정적인 영향을 미칩니다. 이 연구에서는 선택적 레이저 용융 AlCu5MnCdVA 합금의 용융 풀 구조, 온도 흐름 및 속도장을 연구하기 위해 수치 시뮬레이션과 실험을 모두 사용했습니다.

그 결과 용융풀의 구조는 다양한 형태(깊은 오목 구조, 이중 오목 구조, 평면 구조, 돌출 구조 및 이상적인 평면 구조)를 나타냈으며, 용융 풀의 크기는 약 132 μm × 107 μm × 50 μm였습니다. : 용융풀은 초기에는 여러 구동력에 의해 깊이 15μm의 깊은 오목형상이었으나, 성형 후기에는 장력구배에 의해 높이 10μm의 돌출형상이 되었다. 용융 풀 내부의 금속 흐름은 주로 레이저 충격력, 금속 액체 중력, 표면 장력 및 반동 압력에 의해 구동되었습니다.

AlCu5MnCdVA 합금의 경우, 금속 액체 응고 속도가 매우 빠르며(3.5 × 10-4 S), 가열 속도 및 냉각 속도는 각각 6.5 × 107 K S-1 및 1.6 × 106 K S-1 에 도달했습니다. 시각적 표준으로 표면 거칠기를 선택하고, 낮은 레이저 에너지 AlCu5MnCdVA 합금 최적 공정 매개변수 창을 수치 시뮬레이션으로 얻었습니다: 레이저 출력 250W, 부화 공간 0.11mm, 층 두께 0.03mm, 레이저 스캔 속도 1.5m s-1 .

또한, 실험 프린팅과 수치 시뮬레이션과 비교할 때, 용융 풀의 폭은 각각 약 205um 및 약 210um이었고, 인접한 두 용융 트랙 사이의 중첩은 모두 약 65um이었다. 결과는 수치 시뮬레이션 결과가 실험 인쇄 결과와 기본적으로 일치함을 보여 수치 시뮬레이션 모델의 정확성을 입증했습니다.

Selective Laser Melting (SLM) has become one of the most promising technologies in Metal Additive Manufacturing (MAM), which is a complex dynamic non-equilibrium process involving heat transfer, melting, phase transition, vaporization and mass transfer. The characteristics of the molten pool (structure, temperature flow and velocity flow) have a decisive influence on the final forming quality of SLM. In this study, both numerical simulation and experiments were employed to study molten pool structure, temperature flow and velocity field in Selective Laser Melting AlCu5MnCdVA alloy. The results showed the structure of molten pool showed different forms(deep-concave structure, double-concave structure, plane structure, protruding structure and ideal planar structure), and the size of the molten pool was approximately 132 μm × 107 μm × 50 μm: in the early stage, molten pool was in a state of deep-concave shape with a depth of 15 μm due to multiple driving forces, while a protruding shape with a height of 10 μm duo to tension gradient in the later stages of forming. The metal flow inside the molten pool was mainly driven by laser impact force, metal liquid gravity, surface tension and recoil pressure. For AlCu5MnCdVA alloy, metal liquid solidification speed was extremely fast(3.5 × 10−4 S), the heating rate and cooling rate reached 6.5 × 107 K S−1 and 1.6 × 106 K S−1 , respectively. Choosing surface roughness as a visual standard, low-laser energy AlCu5MnCdVA alloy optimum process parameters window was obtained by numerical simulation: laser power 250 W, hatching space 0.11 mm, layer thickness 0.03 mm, laser scanning velocity 1.5 m s−1 . In addition, compared with experimental printing and numerical simulation, the width of the molten pool was about 205 um and about 210 um, respectively, and overlapping between two adjacent molten tracks was all about 65 um. The results showed that the numerical simulation results were basically consistent with the experimental print results, which proved the correctness of the numerical simulation model.

Figure 1. AlCu5MnCdVA powder particle size distribution.
Figure 1. AlCu5MnCdVA powder particle size distribution.
Figure 2. AlCu5MnCdVA powder
Figure 2. AlCu5MnCdVA powder
Figure 3. Finite element model and calculation domains of SLM.
Figure 3. Finite element model and calculation domains of SLM.
Figure 4. SLM heat transfer process.
Figure 4. SLM heat transfer process.
Figure 14. Defects: (a) Unmelt defects(Scheme NO.4);(b) Pores defects(Scheme NO.1); (c); Spattering defect (Scheme NO.3); (d) Low
overlapping rate defects(Scheme NO.5).
Figure 17. Two-pass molten tracks overlapping for Scheme NO.2.
Figure 17. Two-pass molten tracks overlapping for Scheme NO.2.


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Figure 5 A schematic of the water model of reactor URO 200.

Physical and Numerical Modeling of the Impeller Construction Impact on the Aluminum Degassing Process

알루미늄 탈기 공정에 미치는 임펠러 구성의 물리적 및 수치적 모델링

Kamil Kuglin,1 Michał Szucki,2 Jacek Pieprzyca,3 Simon Genthe,2 Tomasz Merder,3 and Dorota Kalisz1,*

Mikael Ersson, Academic Editor

Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer

Associated Data

Data Availability Statement

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This paper presents the results of tests on the suitability of designed heads (impellers) for aluminum refining. The research was carried out on a physical model of the URO-200, followed by numerical simulations in the FLOW 3D program. Four design variants of impellers were used in the study. The degree of dispersion of the gas phase in the model liquid was used as a criterion for evaluating the performance of each solution using different process parameters, i.e., gas flow rate and impeller speed. Afterward, numerical simulations in Flow 3D software were conducted for the best solution. These simulations confirmed the results obtained with the water model and verified them.

Keywords: aluminum, impeller construction, degassing process, numerical modeling, physical modeling

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1. Introduction

Constantly increasing requirements concerning metallurgical purity in terms of hydrogen content and nonmetallic inclusions make casting manufacturers use effective refining techniques. The answer to this demand is the implementation of the aluminum refining technique making use of a rotor with an original design guaranteeing efficient refining [1,2,3,4]. The main task of the impeller (rotor) is to reduce the contamination of liquid metal (primary and recycled aluminum) with hydrogen and nonmetallic inclusions. An inert gas, mainly argon or a mixture of gases, is introduced through the rotor into the liquid metal to bring both hydrogen and nonmetallic inclusions to the metal surface through the flotation process. Appropriately and uniformly distributed gas bubbles in the liquid metal guarantee achieving the assumed level of contaminant removal economically. A very important factor in deciding about the obtained degassing effect is the optimal rotor design [5,6,7,8]. Thanks to the appropriate geometry of the rotor, gas bubbles introduced into the liquid metal are split into smaller ones, and the spinning movement of the rotor distributes them throughout the volume of the liquid metal bath. In this solution impurities in the liquid metal are removed both in the volume and from the upper surface of the metal. With a well-designed impeller, the costs of refining aluminum and its alloys can be lowered thanks to the reduced inert gas and energy consumption (optimal selection of rotor rotational speed). Shorter processing time and a high degree of dehydrogenation decrease the formation of dross on the metal surface (waste). A bigger produced dross leads to bigger process losses. Consequently, this means that the choice of rotor geometry has an indirect impact on the degree to which the generated waste is reduced [9,10].

Another equally important factor is the selection of process parameters such as gas flow rate and rotor speed [11,12]. A well-designed gas injection system for liquid metal meets two key requirements; it causes rapid mixing of the liquid metal to maintain a uniform temperature throughout the volume and during the entire process, to produce a chemically homogeneous metal composition. This solution ensures effective degassing of the metal bath. Therefore, the shape of the rotor, the arrangement of the nozzles, and their number are significant design parameters that guarantee the optimum course of the refining process. It is equally important to complete the mixing of the metal bath in a relatively short time, as this considerably shortens the refining process and, consequently, reduces the process costs. Another important criterion conditioning the implementation of the developed rotor is the generation of fine diffused gas bubbles which are distributed throughout the metal volume, and whose residence time will be sufficient for the bubbles to collide and adsorb the contaminants. The process of bubble formation by the spinning rotors differs from that in the nozzles or porous molders. In the case of a spinning rotor, the shear force generated by the rotor motion splits the bubbles into smaller ones. Here, the rotational speed, mixing force, surface tension, and fluid density have a key effect on the bubble size. The velocity of the bubbles, which depends mainly on their size and shape, determines their residence time in the reactor and is, therefore, very important for the refining process, especially since gas bubbles in liquid aluminum may remain steady only below a certain size [13,14,15].

The impeller designs presented in the article were developed to improve the efficiency of the process and reduce its costs. The impellers used so far have a complicated structure and are very pricey. The success of the conducted research will allow small companies to become independent of external supplies through the possibility of making simple and effective impellers on their own. The developed structures were tested on the water model. The results of this study can be considered as pilot.

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2. Materials and Methods

Rotors were realized with the SolidWorks computer design technique and a 3D printer. The developed designs were tested on a water model. Afterward, the solution with the most advantageous refining parameters was selected and subjected to calculations with the Flow3D package. As a result, an impeller was designed for aluminum refining. Its principal lies in an even distribution of gas bubbles in the entire volume of liquid metal, with the largest possible participation of the bubble surface, without disturbing the metal surface. This procedure guarantees the removal of gaseous, as well as metallic and nonmetallic, impurities.

2.1. Rotor Designs

The developed impeller constructions, shown in Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3 and Figure 4, were printed on a 3D printer using the PLA (polylactide) material. The impeller design models differ in their shape and the number of holes through which the inert gas flows. Figure 1Figure 2 and Figure 3 show the same impeller model but with a different number of gas outlets. The arrangement of four, eight, and 12 outlet holes was adopted in the developed design. A triangle-shaped structure equipped with three gas outlet holes is presented in Figure 4.

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Figure 1

A 3D model—impeller with four holes—variant B4.

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Figure 2

A 3D model—impeller with eight holes—variant B8.

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Figure 3

A 3D model—impeller with twelve holes—variant B12.

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Figure 4

A 3D model—‘red triangle’ impeller with three holes—variant RT3.

2.2. Physical Models

Investigations were carried out on a water model of the URO 200 reactor of the barbotage refining process (see Figure 5).

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Figure 5

A schematic of the water model of reactor URO 200.

The URO 200 reactor can be classified as a cyclic reactor. The main element of the device is a rotor, which ends the impeller. The whole system is attached to a shaft via which the refining gas is supplied. Then, the shaft with the rotor is immersed in the liquid metal in the melting pot or the furnace chamber. In URO 200 reactors, the refining process lasts 600 s (10 min), the gas flow rate that can be obtained ranges from 5 to 20 dm3·min−1, and the speed at which the rotor can move is 0 to 400 rpm. The permissible quantity of liquid metal for barbotage refining is 300 kg or 700 kg [8,16,17]. The URO 200 has several design solutions which improve operation and can be adapted to the existing equipment in the foundry. These solutions include the following [8,16]:

  • URO-200XR—used for small crucible furnaces, the capacity of which does not exceed 250 kg, with no control system and no control of the refining process.
  • URO-200SA—used to service several crucible furnaces of capacity from 250 kg to 700 kg, fully automated and equipped with a mechanical rotor lift.
  • URO-200KA—used for refining processes in crucible furnaces and allows refining in a ladle. The process is fully automated, with a hydraulic rotor lift.
  • URO-200KX—a combination of the XR and KA models, designed for the ladle refining process. Additionally, refining in heated crucibles is possible. The unit is equipped with a manual hydraulic rotor lift.
  • URO-200PA—designed to cooperate with induction or crucible furnaces or intermediate chambers, the capacity of which does not exceed one ton. This unit is an integral part of the furnace. The rotor lift is equipped with a screw drive.

Studies making use of a physical model can be associated with the observation of the flow and circulation of gas bubbles. They require meeting several criteria regarding the similarity of the process and the object characteristics. The similarity conditions mainly include geometric, mechanical, chemical, thermal, and kinetic parameters. During simulation of aluminum refining with inert gas, it is necessary to maintain the geometric similarity between the model and the real object, as well as the similarity related to the flow of liquid metal and gas (hydrodynamic similarity). These quantities are characterized by the Reynolds, Weber, and Froude numbers. The Froude number is the most important parameter characterizing the process, its magnitude is the same for the physical model and the real object. Water was used as the medium in the physical modeling. The factors influencing the choice of water are its availability, relatively low cost, and kinematic viscosity at room temperature, which is very close to that of liquid aluminum.

The physical model studies focused on the flow of inert gas in the form of gas bubbles with varying degrees of dispersion, particularly with respect to some flow patterns such as flow in columns and geysers, as well as disturbance of the metal surface. The most important refining parameters are gas flow rate and rotor speed. The barbotage refining studies for the developed impeller (variants B4, B8, B12, and RT3) designs were conducted for the following process parameters:

  • Rotor speed: 200, 300, 400, and 500 rpm,
  • Ideal gas flow: 10, 20, and 30 dm3·min−1,
  • Temperature: 293 K (20 °C).

These studies were aimed at determining the most favorable variants of impellers, which were then verified using the numerical modeling methods in the Flow-3D program.

2.3. Numerical Simulations with Flow-3D Program

Testing different rotor impellers using a physical model allows for observing the phenomena taking place while refining. This is a very important step when testing new design solutions without using expensive industrial trials. Another solution is modeling by means of commercial simulation programs such as ANSYS Fluent or Flow-3D [18,19]. Unlike studies on a physical model, in a computer program, the parameters of the refining process and the object itself, including the impeller design, can be easily modified. The simulations were performed with the Flow-3D program version 12.03.02. A three-dimensional system with the same dimensions as in the physical modeling was used in the calculations. The isothermal flow of liquid–gas bubbles was analyzed. As in the physical model, three speeds were adopted in the numerical tests: 200, 300, and 500 rpm. During the initial phase of the simulations, the velocity field around the rotor generated an appropriate direction of motion for the newly produced bubbles. When the required speed was reached, the generation of randomly distributed bubbles around the rotor was started at a rate of 2000 per second. Table 1 lists the most important simulation parameters.

Table 1

Values of parameters used in the calculations.

Maximum number of gas particles1,000,000
Rate of particle generation20001·s−1
Specific gas constant287.058J·kg−1·K−1
Atmospheric pressure1.013 × 105Pa
Water density1000kg·m−3
Water viscosity0.001kg·m−1·s−1
Boundary condition on the wallsNo-slip
Size of computational cell0.0034m

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In the case of the CFD analysis, the numerical solutions require great care when generating the computational mesh. Therefore, computational mesh tests were performed prior to the CFD calculations. The effect of mesh density was evaluated by taking into account the velocity of water in the tested object on the measurement line A (height of 0.065 m from the bottom) in a characteristic cross-section passing through the object axis (see Figure 6). The mesh contained 3,207,600, 6,311,981, 7,889,512, 11,569,230, and 14,115,049 cells.

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Figure 6

The velocity of the water depending on the size of the computational grid.

The quality of the generated computational meshes was checked using the criterion skewness angle QEAS [18]. This criterion is described by the following relationship:



where βmaxβmin are the maximal and minimal angles (in degrees) between the edges of the cell, and βeq is the angle corresponding to an ideal cell, which for cubic cells is 90°.

Normalized in the interval [0;1], the value of QEAS should not exceed 0.75, which identifies the permissible skewness angle of the generated mesh. For the computed meshes, this value was equal to 0.55–0.65.

Moreover, when generating the computational grids in the studied facility, they were compacted in the areas of the highest gradients of the calculated values, where higher turbulence is to be expected (near the impeller). The obtained results of water velocity in the studied object at constant gas flow rate are shown in Figure 6.

The analysis of the obtained water velocity distributions (see Figure 6) along the line inside the object revealed that, with the density of the grid of nodal points, the velocity changed and its changes for the test cases of 7,889,512, 11,569,230, and 14,115,049 were insignificant. Therefore, it was assumed that a grid containing not less than 7,900,000 (7,889,512) cells would not affect the result of CFD calculations.

A single-block mesh of regular cells with a size of 0.0034 m was used in the numerical calculations. The total number of cells was approximately 7,900,000 (7,889,512). This grid resolution (see Figure 7) allowed the geometry of the system to be properly represented, maintaining acceptable computation time (about 3 days on a workstation with 2× CPU and 12 computing cores).

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Figure 7

Structured equidistant mesh used in numerical calculations: (a) mesh with smoothed, surface cells (the so-called FAVOR method) used in Flow-3D; (b) visualization of the applied mesh resolution.

The calculations were conducted with an explicit scheme. The timestep was selected by the program automatically and controlled by stability and convergence. From the moment of the initial velocity field generation (start of particle generation), it was 0.0001 s.

When modeling the degassing process, three fluids are present in the system: water, gas supplied through the rotor head (impeller), and the surrounding air. Modeling such a multiphase flow is a numerically very complex issue. The necessity to overcome the liquid backpressure by the gas flowing out from the impeller leads to the formation of numerical instabilities in the volume of fluid (VOF)-based approach used by Flow-3D software. Therefore, a mixed description of the analyzed flow was used here. In this case, water was treated as a continuous medium, while, in the case of gas bubbles, the discrete phase model (DPM) model was applied. The way in which the air surrounding the system was taken into account is later described in detail.

The following additional assumptions were made in the modeling:

  • —The liquid phase was considered as an incompressible Newtonian fluid.
  • —The effect of chemical reactions during the refining process was neglected.
  • —The composition of each phase (gas and liquid) was considered homogeneous; therefore, the viscosity and surface tension were set as constants.
  • —Only full turbulence existed in the liquid, and the effect of molecular viscosity was neglected.
  • —The gas bubbles were shaped as perfect spheres.
  • —The mutual interaction between gas bubbles (particles) was neglected.

2.3.1. Modeling of Liquid Flow 

The motion of the real fluid (continuous medium) is described by the Navier–Stokes Equation [20].

dudt=−1ρ∇p+ν∇2u+13ν∇(∇⋅ u)+F,


where du/dt is the time derivative, u is the velocity vector, t is the time, and F is the term accounting for external forces including gravity (unit components denoted by XYZ).

In the simulations, the fluid flow was assumed to be incompressible, in which case the following equation is applicable:



Due to the large range of liquid velocities during flows, the turbulence formation process was included in the modeling. For this purpose, the k–ε model turbulence kinetic energy k and turbulence dissipation ε were the target parameters, as expressed by the following equations [21]:





where ρ is the gas density, σκ and σε are the Prandtl turbulence numbers, k and ε are constants of 1.0 and 1.3, and Gk and Gb are the kinetic energy of turbulence generated by the average velocity and buoyancy, respectively.

As mentioned earlier, there are two gas phases in the considered problem. In addition to the gas bubbles, which are treated here as particles, there is also air, which surrounds the system. The boundary of phase separation is in this case the free surface of the water. The shape of the free surface can change as a result of the forming velocity field in the liquid. Therefore, it is necessary to use an appropriate approach to free surface tracking. The most commonly used concept in liquid–gas flow modeling is the volume of fluid (VOF) method [22,23], and Flow-3D uses a modified version of this method called TrueVOF. It introduces the concept of the volume fraction of the liquid phase fl. This parameter can be used for classifying the cells of a discrete grid into areas filled with liquid phase (fl = 1), gaseous phase, or empty cells (fl = 0) and those through which the phase separation boundary (fl ∈ (0, 1)) passes (free surface). To determine the local variations of the liquid phase fraction, it is necessary to solve the following continuity equation:



Then, the fluid parameters in the region of coexistence of the two phases (the so-called interface) depend on the volume fraction of each phase.





where indices l and g refer to the liquid and gaseous phases, respectively.

The parameter of fluid velocity in cells containing both phases is also determined in the same way.



Since the processes taking place in the surrounding air can be omitted, to speed up the calculations, a single-phase, free-surface model was used. This means that no calculations were performed in the gas cells (they were treated as empty cells). The liquid could fill them freely, and the air surrounding the system was considered by the atmospheric pressure exerted on the free surface. This approach is often used in modeling foundry and metallurgical processes [24].

2.3.2. Modeling of Gas Bubble Flow 

As stated, a particle model was used to model bubble flow. Spherical particles (gas bubbles) of a given size were randomly generated in the area marked with green in Figure 7b. In the simulations, the gas bubbles were assumed to have diameters of 0.016 and 0.02 m corresponding to the gas flow rates of 10 and 30 dm3·min−1, respectively.

Experimental studies have shown that, as a result of turbulent fluid motion, some of the bubbles may burst, leading to the formation of smaller bubbles, although merging of bubbles into larger groupings may also occur. Therefore, to be able to observe the behavior of bubbles of different sizes (diameter), the calculations generated two additional particle types with diameters twice smaller and twice larger, respectively. The proportion of each species in the system was set to 33.33% (Table 2).

Table 2

Data assumed for calculations.

NoRotor Speed (Rotational Speed)
Bubbles Diameter
Corresponding Gas Flow Rate
NoRotor Speed (Rotational Speed)
Bubbles Diameter
Corresponding Gas Flow Rate

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The velocity of the particle results from the generated velocity field (calculated from Equation (3) in the liquid ul around it and its velocity resulting from the buoyancy force ub. The effect of particle radius r on the terminal velocity associated with buoyancy force can be determined according to Stokes’ law.

ub=29 (ρg−ρl)μlgr2,


where g is the acceleration (9.81).

The DPM model was used for modeling the two-phase (water–air) flow. In this model, the fluid (water) is treated as a continuous phase and described by the Navier–Stokes equation, while gas bubbles are particles flowing in the model fluid (discrete phase). The trajectories of each bubble in the DPM system are calculated at each timestep taking into account the mass forces acting on it. Table 3 characterizes the DPM model used in our own research [18].

Table 3

Characteristic of the DPM model.

Euler–LagrangeBalance equation:
FD (u − up) denotes the drag forces per mass unit of a bubble, and the expression for the drag coefficient FD is of the form
The relative Reynolds number has the form
On the other hand, the force resulting from the additional acceleration of the model fluid has the form
where ug is the gas bubble velocity, u is the liquid velocity, dg is the bubble diameter, and CD is the drag coefficient.

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3. Results and Discussion

3.1. Calculations of Power and Mixing Time by the Flowing Gas Bubbles

One of the most important parameters of refining with a rotor is the mixing power induced by the spinning rotor and the outflowing gas bubbles (via impeller). The mixing power of liquid metal in a ladle of height (h) by gas injection can be determined from the following relation [15]:



where pg is the mixing power, Vm is the volume of liquid metal in the reactor, ρ is the density of liquid aluminum, and uB is the average speed of bubbles, given below.



where n is the number of gas moles, R is the gas constant (8.314), Ac is the cross-sectional area of the reactor vessel, T is the temperature of liquid aluminum in the reactor, and Pm is the pressure at the middle tank level. The pressure at the middle level of the tank is calculated by a function of the mean logarithmic difference.



where Pa is the atmospheric pressure, and h is the the height of metal in the reactor.

Themelis and Goyal [25] developed a model for calculating mixing power delivered by gas injection.



where Q is the gas flow, and m is the mass of liquid metal.

Zhang [26] proposed a model taking into account the temperature difference between gas and alloy (metal).



where Tg is the gas temperature at the entry point.

Data for calculating the mixing power resulting from inert gas injection into liquid aluminum are given below in Table 4. The design parameters were adopted for the model, the parameters of which are shown in Figure 5.

Table 4

Data for calculating mixing power introduced by an inert gas.

Height of metal column0.7m
Density of aluminum2375kg·m−3
Process duration20s
Gas temperature at the injection site940K
Cross-sectional area of ladle0.448m2
Mass of liquid aluminum546.25kg
Volume of ladle0.23M3
Temperature of liquid aluminum941.15K

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Table 5 presents the results of mixing power calculations according to the models of Themelis and Goyal and of Zhang for inert gas flows of 10, 20, and 30 dm3·min−1. The obtained calculation results significantly differed from each other. The difference was an order of magnitude, which indicates that the model is highly inaccurate without considering the temperature of the injected gas. Moreover, the calculations apply to the case when the mixing was performed only by the flowing gas bubbles, without using a rotor, which is a great simplification of the phenomenon.

Table 5

Mixing power calculated from mathematical models.

Mathematical ModelMixing Power (W·t−1)
for a Given Inert Gas Flow (dm3·min−1)
Themelis and Goyal11.4923.3335.03

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The mixing time is defined as the time required to achieve 95% complete mixing of liquid metal in the ladle [27,28,29,30]. Table 6 groups together equations for the mixing time according to the models.

Table 6

Models for calculating mixing time.

Szekely [31]τ=800ε−0.4ε—W·t−1
Chiti and Paglianti [27]τ=CVQlV—volume of reactor, m3
Ql—flow intensity, m3·s−1
Iguchi and Nakamura [32]τ=1200⋅Q−0.4D1.97h−1.0υ0.47υ—kinematic viscosity, m2·s−1
D—diameter of ladle, m
h—height of metal column, m
Q—liquid flow intensity, m3·s−1

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Figure 8 and Figure 9 show the mixing time as a function of gas flow rate for various heights of the liquid column in the ladle and mixing power values.

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Figure 8

Mixing time as a function of gas flow rate for various heights of the metal column (Iguchi and Nakamura model).

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Figure 9

Mixing time as a function of mixing power (Szekly model).

3.2. Determining the Bubble Size

The mechanisms controlling bubble size and mass transfer in an alloy undergoing refining are complex. Strong mixing conditions in the reactor promote impurity mass transfer. In the case of a spinning rotor, the shear force generated by the rotor motion separates the bubbles into smaller bubbles. Rotational speed, mixing force, surface tension, and liquid density have a strong influence on the bubble size. To characterize the kinetic state of the refining process, parameters k and A were introduced. Parameters kA, and uB can be calculated using the below equations [33].







where D is the diffusion coefficient, and dB is the bubble diameter.

After substituting appropriate values, we get



According to the last equation, the size of the gas bubble decreases with the increasing rotational speed (see Figure 10).

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Figure 10

Effect of rotational speed on the bubble diameter.

In a flow of given turbulence intensity, the diameter of the bubble does not exceed the maximum size dmax, which is inversely proportional to the rate of kinetic energy dissipation in a viscous flow ε. The size of the gas bubble diameter as a function of the mixing energy, also considering the Weber number and the mixing energy in the negative power, can be determined from the following equations [31,34]:

  • —Sevik and Park:



  • —Evans:

dBmax=⎡⎣Wekr⋅σ⋅1032⋅(ρ⋅10−3)13⎤⎦35 ⋅(10⋅ε)−25⋅10−2.


The results of calculating the maximum diameter of the bubble dBmax determined from Equation (21) are given in Table 7.

Table 7

The results of calculating the maximum diameter of the bubble using Equation (21).

ModelMixing Energy
ĺ (m2·s−3)
Weber Number (Wekr)
Zhang and Taniguchi
Sevik and Park

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3.3. Physical Modeling

The first stage of experiments (using the URO-200 water model) included conducting experiments with impellers equipped with four, eight, and 12 gas outlets (variants B4, B8, B12). The tests were carried out for different process parameters. Selected results for these experiments are presented in Figure 11Figure 12Figure 13 and Figure 14.

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Figure 11

Impeller variant B4—gas bubbles dispersion registered for a gas flow rate of 10 dm3·min−1 and rotor speed of (a) 200, (b) 300, (c) 400, and (d) 500 rpm.

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Figure 12

Impeller variant B8—gas bubbles dispersion registered for a gas flow rate of 10 dm3·min−1 and rotor speed of (a) 200, (b) 300, (c) 400, and (d) 500 rpm.

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Figure 13

Gas bubble dispersion registered for different processing parameters (impeller variant B12).

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Figure 14

Gas bubble dispersion registered for different processing parameters (impeller variant RT3).

The analysis of the refining variants presented in Figure 11Figure 12Figure 13 and Figure 14 reveals that the proposed impellers design model is not useful for the aluminum refining process. The number of gas outlet orifices, rotational speed, and flow did not affect the refining efficiency. In all the variants shown in the figures, very poor dispersion of gas bubbles was observed in the object. The gas bubble flow had a columnar character, and so-called dead zones, i.e., areas where no inert gas bubbles are present, were visible in the analyzed object. Such dead zones were located in the bottom and side zones of the ladle, while the flow of bubbles occurred near the turning rotor. Another negative phenomenon observed was a significant agitation of the water surface due to excessive (rotational) rotor speed and gas flow (see Figure 13, cases 20; 400, 30; 300, 30; 400, and 30; 500).

Research results for a ‘red triangle’ impeller equipped with three gas supply orifices (variant RT3) are presented in Figure 14.

In this impeller design, a uniform degree of bubble dispersion in the entire volume of the modeling fluid was achieved for most cases presented (see Figure 14). In all tested variants, single bubbles were observed in the area of the water surface in the vessel. For variants 20; 200, 30; 200, and 20; 300 shown in Figure 14, the bubble dispersion results were the worst as the so-called dead zones were identified in the area near the bottom and sidewalls of the vessel, which disqualifies these work parameters for further applications. Interestingly, areas where swirls and gas bubble chains formed were identified only for the inert gas flows of 20 and 30 dm3·min−1 and 200 rpm in the analyzed model. This means that the presented model had the best performance in terms of dispersion of gas bubbles in the model liquid. Its design with sharp edges also differed from previously analyzed models, which is beneficial for gas bubble dispersion, but may interfere with its suitability in industrial conditions due to possible premature wear.

3.4. Qualitative Comparison of Research Results (CFD and Physical Model)

The analysis (physical modeling) revealed that the best mixing efficiency results were obtained with the RT3 impeller variant. Therefore, numerical calculations were carried out for the impeller model with three outlet orifices (variant RT3). The CFD results are presented in Figure 15 and Figure 16.

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Figure 15

Simulation results of the impeller RT3, for given flows and rotational speeds after a time of 1 s: simulation variants (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, (d) D, (e) E, and (f) F.

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Figure 16

Simulation results of the impeller RT3, for given flows and rotational speeds after a time of 5.4 s.: simulation variants (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, (d) D, (e) E, and (f) F.

CFD results are presented for all analyzed variants (impeller RT3) at two selected calculation timesteps of 1 and 5.40 s. They show the velocity field of the medium (water) and the dispersion of gas bubbles.

Figure 15 shows the initial refining phase after 1 s of the process. In this case, the gas bubble formation and flow were observed in an area close to contact with the rotor. Figure 16 shows the phase when the dispersion and flow of gas bubbles were advanced in the reactor area of the URO-200 model.

The quantitative evaluation of the obtained results of physical and numerical model tests was based on the comparison of the degree of gas dispersion in the model liquid. The degree of gas bubble dispersion in the volume of the model liquid and the areas of strong turbulent zones formation were evaluated during the analysis of the results of visualization and numerical simulations. These two effects sufficiently characterize the required course of the process from the physical point of view. The known scheme of the below description was adopted as a basic criterion for the evaluation of the degree of dispersion of gas bubbles in the model liquid.

  • Minimal dispersion—single bubbles ascending in the region of their formation along the ladle axis; lack of mixing in the whole bath volume.
  • Accurate dispersion—single and well-mixed bubbles ascending toward the bath mirror in the region of the ladle axis; no dispersion near the walls and in the lower part of the ladle.
  • Uniform dispersion—most desirable; very good mixing of fine bubbles with model liquid.
  • Excessive dispersion—bubbles join together to form chains; large turbulence zones; uneven flow of gas.

The numerical simulation results give a good agreement with the experiments performed with the physical model. For all studied variants (used process parameters), the single bubbles were observed in the area of water surface in the vessel. For variants presented in Figure 13 (200 rpm, gas flow 20 and dm3·min−1) and relevant examples in numerical simulation Figure 16, the worst bubble dispersion results were obtained because the dead zones were identified in the area near the bottom and sidewalls of the vessel, which disqualifies these work parameters for further use. The areas where swirls and gas bubble chains formed were identified only for the inert gas flows of 20 and 30 dm3·min−1 and 200 rpm in the analyzed model (physical model). This means that the presented impeller model had the best performance in terms of dispersion of gas bubbles in the model liquid. The worst bubble dispersion results were obtained because the dead zones were identified in the area near the bottom and side walls of the vessel, which disqualifies these work parameters for further use.

Figure 17 presents exemplary results of model tests (CFD and physical model) with marked gas bubble dispersion zones. All variants of tests were analogously compared, and this comparison allowed validating the numerical model.

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Object name is materials-15-05273-g017.jpg

Figure 17

Compilations of model research results (CFD and physical): A—single gas bubbles formed on the surface of the modeling liquid, B—excessive formation of gas chains and swirls, C—uniform distribution of gas bubbles in the entire volume of the tank, and D—dead zones without gas bubbles, no dispersion. (a) Variant B; (b) variant F.

It should be mentioned here that, in numerical simulations, it is necessary to make certain assumptions and simplifications. The calculations assumed three particle size classes (Table 2), which represent the different gas bubbles that form due to different gas flow rates. The maximum number of particles/bubbles (Table 1) generated was assumed in advance and related to the computational capabilities of the computer. Too many particles can also make it difficult to visualize and analyze the results. The size of the particles, of course, affects their behavior during simulation, while, in the figures provided in the article, the bubbles are represented by spheres (visualization of the results) of the same size. Please note that, due to the adopted Lagrangian–Eulerian approach, the simulation did not take into account phenomena such as bubble collapse or fusion. However, the obtained results allow a comprehensive analysis of the behavior of gas bubbles in the system under consideration.

The comparative analysis of the visualization (quantitative) results obtained with the water model and CFD simulations (see Figure 17) generated a sufficient agreement from the point of view of the trends. A precise quantitative evaluation is difficult to perform because of the lack of a refraction compensating system in the water model. Furthermore, in numerical simulations, it is not possible to determine the geometry of the forming gas bubbles and their interaction with each other as opposed to the visualization in the water model. The use of both research methods is complementary. Thus, a direct comparison of images obtained by the two methods requires appropriate interpretation. However, such an assessment gives the possibility to qualitatively determine the types of the present gas bubble dispersion, thus ultimately validating the CFD results with the water model.

A summary of the visualization results for impellers RT3, i.e., analysis of the occurring gas bubble dispersion types, is presented in Table 8.

Table 8

Summary of visualization results (impeller RT3)—different types of gas bubble dispersion.

Gas flow rate, dm3·min−11030
Impeller speed, rpm200300500200300500
Type of dispersionAccurateUniformUniform/excessiveMinimalExcessiveExcessive

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Tests carried out for impeller RT3 confirmed the high efficiency of gas bubble distribution in the volume of the tested object at a low inert gas flow rate of 10 dm3·min−1. The most optimal variant was variant B (300 rpm, 10 dm3·min−1). However, the other variants A and C (gas flow rate 10 dm3·min−1) seemed to be favorable for this type of impeller and are recommended for further testing. The above process parameters will be analyzed in detail in a quantitative analysis to be performed on the basis of the obtained efficiency curves of the degassing process (oxygen removal). This analysis will give an unambiguous answer as to which process parameters are the most optimal for this type of impeller; the results are planned for publication in the next article.

It should also be noted here that the high agreement between the results of numerical calculations and physical modelling prompts a conclusion that the proposed approach to the simulation of a degassing process which consists of a single-phase flow model with a free surface and a particle flow model is appropriate. The simulation results enable us to understand how the velocity field in the fluid is formed and to analyze the distribution of gas bubbles in the system. The simulations in Flow-3D software can, therefore, be useful for both the design of the impeller geometry and the selection of process parameters.

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4. Conclusions

The results of experiments carried out on the physical model of the device for the simulation of barbotage refining of aluminum revealed that the worst results in terms of distribution and dispersion of gas bubbles in the studied object were obtained for the black impellers variants B4, B8, and B12 (multi-orifice impellers—four, eight, and 12 outlet holes, respectively).

In this case, the control of flow, speed, and number of gas exit orifices did not improve the process efficiency, and the developed design did not meet the criteria for industrial tests. In the case of the ‘red triangle’ impeller (variant RT3), uniform gas bubble dispersion was achieved throughout the volume of the modeling fluid for most of the tested variants. The worst bubble dispersion results due to the occurrence of the so-called dead zones in the area near the bottom and sidewalls of the vessel were obtained for the flow variants of 20 dm3·min−1 and 200 rpm and 30 dm3·min−1 and 200 rpm. For the analyzed model, areas where swirls and gas bubble chains were formed were found only for the inert gas flow of 20 and 30 dm3·min−1 and 200 rpm. The model impeller (variant RT3) had the best performance compared to the previously presented impellers in terms of dispersion of gas bubbles in the model liquid. Moreover, its design differed from previously presented models because of its sharp edges. This can be advantageous for gas bubble dispersion, but may negatively affect its suitability in industrial conditions due to premature wearing.

The CFD simulation results confirmed the results obtained from the experiments performed on the physical model. The numerical simulation of the operation of the ‘red triangle’ impeller model (using Flow-3D software) gave good agreement with the experiments performed on the physical model. This means that the presented model impeller, as compared to other (analyzed) designs, had the best performance in terms of gas bubble dispersion in the model liquid.

In further work, the developed numerical model is planned to be used for CFD simulations of the gas bubble distribution process taking into account physicochemical parameters of liquid aluminum based on industrial tests. Consequently, the obtained results may be implemented in production practice.

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Funding Statement

This paper was created with the financial support grants from the AGH-UST, Faculty of Foundry Engineering, Poland ( and 11/990/BK_22/0083) for the Faculty of Materials Engineering, Silesian University of Technology, Poland.

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Author Contributions

Conceptualization, K.K. and D.K.; methodology, J.P. and T.M.; validation, M.S. and S.G.; formal analysis, D.K. and T.M.; investigation, J.P., K.K. and S.G.; resources, M.S., J.P. and K.K.; writing—original draft preparation, D.K. and T.M.; writing—review and editing, D.K. and T.M.; visualization, J.P., K.K. and S.G.; supervision, D.K.; funding acquisition, D.K. and T.M. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

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Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

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Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

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Data Availability Statement

Data are contained within the article.

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Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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Figure 4.24 - Model with virtual valves in the extremities of the geometries to simulate the permeability of the mold promoting a more uniformed filling

Optimization of filling systems for low pressure by Flow-3D

Dissertação de Mestrado
Ciclo de Estudos Integrados Conducentes ao
Grau de Mestre em Engenharia Mecânica
Trabalho efectuado sob a orientação do
Doutor Hélder de Jesus Fernades Puga
Professor Doutor José Joaquim Carneiro Barbosa


논문의 일부로 튜터 선택 가능성과 해결해야 할 주제가 설정되는 매개변수를 염두에 두고 개발 주제 ‘Flow- 3D ®에 의한 저압 충전 시스템 최적화’가 선택되었습니다. 이를 위해서는 달성해야 할 목표와 이를 달성하기 위한 방법을 정의하는 것이 필요했습니다.

충전 시스템을 시뮬레이션하고 검증할 수 있는 광범위한 소프트웨어에도 불구하고 Flow-3D®는 시장에서 최고의 도구 중 하나로 표시되어 전체 충전 프로세스 및 행동 표현과 관련하여 탁월한 정확도로 시뮬레이션하는 능력을 입증했습니다.

이를 위해 관련 프로세스를 더 잘 이해하고 충진 시스템 시뮬레이션을 위한 탐색적 기반 역할을 하기 위해 이 도구를 탐색하는 것이 중요합니다. 지연 및 재료 낭비에 반영되는 실제적인 측면에서 충전 장치의 치수를 완벽하게 만드는 비용 및 시간 낭비. 이러한 방식으로 저압 주조 공정에서 충진 시스템을 설계하고 물리적 모델을 탐색하여 특성화하는 방법론을 검증하기 위한 것입니다.

이를 위해 다음 주요 단계를 고려하십시오.

시뮬레이션 소프트웨어 Flow 3D® 탐색;
충전 시스템 모델링;
모델의 매개변수를 탐색하여 모델링된 시스템의 시뮬레이션, 검증 및 최적화.

따라서 연구 중인 압력 곡선과 주조 분석에서 가장 관련성이 높은 정보의 최종 마이닝을 검증하기 위한 것입니다.

사용된 압력 곡선은 수집된 문헌과 이전에 수행된 실제 작업을 통해 얻었습니다. 결과를 통해 3단계 압력 곡선이 층류 충진 체계의 의도된 목적과 관련 속도가 0.5 𝑚/𝑠를 초과하지 않는다는 결론을 내릴 수 있었습니다.

충전 수준이 2인 압력 곡선은 0.5 𝑚/𝑠 이상의 속도로 영역을 채우는 더 난류 시스템을 갖습니다. 열전달 매개변수는 이전에 얻은 값이 주물에 대한 소산 거동을 확증하지 않았기 때문에 연구되었습니다.

이러한 방식으로 주조 공정에 더 부합하는 새로운 가치를 얻었습니다. 달성된 결과는 유사한 것으로 나타난 NovaFlow & Solid®에 의해 생성된 결과와 비교되어 시뮬레이션에서 설정된 매개변수를 검증했습니다. Flow 3D®는 주조 부품 시뮬레이션을 위한 강력한 도구로 입증되었습니다.

As part of the dissertation and bearing in mind the parameters in which the possibility of a choice of tutor and the subject to be addressed is established, the subject for development ’Optimization of filling systems for low pressure by Flow 3D ®’ was chosen. For this it was necessary to define the objectives to achieve and the methods to attain them. Despite the wide range of software able to simulate and validate filling systems, Flow 3D® has been shown as one of the best tools in the market, demonstrating its ability to simulate with distinctive accuracy with respect to the entire process of filling and the behavioral representation of the fluid obtained. To this end, it is important to explore this tool for a better understanding of the processes involved and to serve as an exploratory basis for the simulation of filling systems, simulation being one of the great strengths of the current industry due to the need to reduce costs and time waste, in practical terms, that lead to the perfecting of the dimensioning of filling devices, which are reflected in delays and wasted material. In this way it is intended to validate the methodology to design a filling system in lowpressure casting process, exploring their physical models and thus allowing for its characterization. For this, consider the following main phases: The exploration of the simulation software Flow 3D®; modeling of filling systems; simulation, validation and optimization of systems modeled by exploring the parameters of the models. Therefore, it is intended to validate the pressure curves under study and the eventual mining of the most relevant information in a casting analysis. The pressure curves that were used were obtained through the gathered literature and the practical work previously performed. Through the results it was possible to conclude that the pressure curve with 3 levels meets the intended purpose of a laminar filling regime and associated speeds never exceeding 0.5 𝑚/𝑠. The pressure curve with 2 filling levels has a more turbulent system, having filling areas with velocities above 0.5 𝑚/𝑠. The heat transfer parameter was studied due to the values previously obtained didn’t corroborate the behavior of dissipation regarding to the casting. In this way, new values, more in tune with the casting process, were obtained. The achieved results were compared with those generated by NovaFlow & Solid®, which were shown to be similar, validating the parameters established in the simulations. Flow 3D® was proven a powerful tool for the simulation of casting parts.


저압, Flow 3D®, 시뮬레이션, 파운드리, 압력-시간 관계,Low Pressure, Flow 3D®, Simulation, Foundry, Pressure-time relation

Figure 4.24 - Model with virtual valves in the extremities of the geometries to simulate the permeability of the mold promoting a more uniformed filling
Figure 4.24 – Model with virtual valves in the extremities of the geometries to simulate the permeability of the mold promoting a more uniformed filling
Figure 4.39 - Values of temperature contours using full energy heat transfer parameter for simula
Figure 4.39 – Values of temperature contours using full energy heat transfer parameter for simula
Figure 4.40 – Comparison between software simulations (a) Flow 3D® simulation,
(b) NovaFlow & Solid® simulation
Figure 4.40 – Comparison between software simulations (a) Flow 3D® simulation, (b) NovaFlow & Solid® simulation


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Figure 1: Mold drawings

3D Flow and Temperature Analysis of Filling a Plutonium Mold

플루토늄 주형 충전의 3D 유동 및 온도 분석

Authors: Orenstein, Nicholas P. [1]

Publication Date:2013-07-24
Research Org.: Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.: DOE/LANL
OSTI Identifier: 1088904
Report Number(s): LA-UR-13-25537
DOE Contract Number: AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type: Technical Report
Country of Publication: United States
Language: English
Subject: Engineering(42); Materials Science(36); Radiation Chemistry, Radiochemistry, & Nuclear Chemistry(38)


The plutonium foundry at Los Alamos National Laboratory casts products for various special nuclear applications. However, plutonium’s radioactivity, material properties, and security constraints complicate the ability to perform experimental analysis of mold behavior. The Manufacturing Engineering and Technologies (MET-2) group previously developed a graphite mold to vacuum cast small plutonium disks to be used by the Department of Homeland Security as point sources for radiation sensor testing.

A two-stage pouring basin consisting of a funnel and an angled cavity directs the liquid into a vertical runner. A stack of ten disk castings connect to the runner by horizontal gates. Volumetric flow rates were implemented to limit overflow into the funnel and minimize foundry returns. Models using Flow-3D computational fluid dynamics software are employed here to determine liquid Pu flow paths, optimal pour regimes, temperature changes, and pressure variations.


Hardcopy drawings provided necessary information to create 3D .stl models for import into Flow-3D (Figs. 1 and 2). The mesh was refined over several iterations to isolate the disk cavities, runner, angled cavity, funnel, and input pour. The final flow and mold-filling simulation utilizes a fine mesh with ~5.5 million total cells. For the temperature study, the mesh contained 1/8 as many cells to reduce computational time and set temperatures to 850 °C for the molten plutonium and 500 °C for the solid graphite mold components (Fig. 3).

Flow-3D solves mass continuity and Navier-Stokes momentum equations over the structured rectangular grid model using finite difference and finite volume numerical algorithms. The solver includes terms in the momentum equation for body and viscous accelerations and uses convective heat transfer.

Simulation settings enabled Flow-3D physics calculations for gravity at 980.665 cm/s 2 in the negative Z direction (top of mold to bottom); viscous, turbulent, incompressible flow using dynamically-computed Renormalized Group Model turbulence calculations and no-slip/partial slip wall shear, and; first order, full energy equation heat transfer.

Mesh boundaries were all set to symmetric boundary conditions except for the Zmin boundary set to outflow and the Zmax boundary set to a volume flow. Vacuum casting conditions and the high reactivity of remaining air molecules with Pu validate the assumption of an initially fluidless void.


The flow follows a unique three-dimensional path. The mold fills upwards with two to three disks receiving fluid in a staggered sequence. Figures 5-9 show how the fluid fills the cavity, and Figure 7 includes the color scale for pressure levels in these four figures. The narrow gate causes a high pressure region which forces the fluid to flow down the cavity centerline.

It proceeds to splash against the far wall and then wrap around the circumference back to the gate (Figs. 5 and 6). Flow in the angled region of the pouring basin cascades over the bottom ledge and attaches to the far wall of the runner, as seen in Figure 7.

This channeling becomes less pronounced as fluid volume levels increase. Finally, two similar but non-uniform depressed regions form about the centerline. These regions fill from their perimeter and bottom until completion (Fig. 8). Such a pattern is counter, for example, to a steady scenario in which a circle of molten Pu encompassing the entire bottom surface rises as a growing cylinder.

Cavity pressure becomes uniform when the cavity is full. Pressure levels build in the rising well section of the runner, where impurities were found to settle in actual casting. Early test simulations optimized the flow as three pours so that the fluid would never overflow to the funnel, the cavities would all fill completely, and small amounts of fluid would remain as foundry returns in the angled cavity.

These rates and durations were translated to the single 2.7s pour at 100 cm 3 per second used here. Figure 9 shows anomalous pressure fluctuations which occurred as the cavities became completely filled. Multiple simulations exhibited a rapid change in pressure from positive to negative and back within the newly-full disk and surrounding, already-full disks.

The time required to completely fill each cavity is plotted in Figure 10. Results show negligible temperature change within the molten Pu during mold filling and, as seen in Figure 11, at fill completion.

Figure 1: Mold drawings
Figure 1: Mold drawings
Figure 2: Mold Assembly
Figure 2: Mold Assembly
Figure 4: Actual mold and cast Pu
Figure 4: Actual mold and cast Pu
Figure 5: Bottom cavity filling
from runner
Figure 5: Bottom cavity filling from runner
Figure 6: Pouring and filling
Figure 6: Pouring and filling
Figure 8: Edge detection of cavity fill geometry. Two similar depressed areas form
about the centerline. Top cavity shown; same pressure scale as other figures
Figure 8: Edge detection of cavity fill geometry. Two similar depressed areas form about the centerline. Top cavity shown; same pressure scale as other figures
Figure 10: Cavity fill times,from first fluid contact with pouring basin, Figure 11:Fluid temperature remains essentially constant
Figure 10: Cavity fill times,from first fluid contact with pouring basin, Figure 11:Fluid temperature remains essentially constant


Non-uniform cavity filling could cause crystal microstructure irregularities during solidification. However, the small temperature changes seen – due to large differences in specific heat between Pu and graphite – over a relatively short time make such problems unlikely in this case.

In the actual casting, cooling required approximately ten minutes. This large difference in time scales further reduces the chance for temperature effects in such a superheated scenario. Pouring basin emptying decreases pressure at the gate which extends fill time of the top two cavities.

The bottom cavity takes longer to fill because fluid must first enter the runner and fill the well. Fill times continue linearly until the top two cavities. The anomalous pressure fluctuations may be due to physical attempts by the system to reach equilibrium, but they are more likely due to numerical errors in the Flow3D solver.

Unsuccessful tests were performed to remove them by halving fluid viscosity. The fine mesh reduced, but did not eliminate, the extent of the fluctuations. Future work is planned to study induction and heat transfer in the full Pu furnace system, including quantifying temporal lag of the cavity void temperature to the mold wall temperature during pre-heat and comparing heat flux levels between furnace components during cool-down.

Thanks to Doug Kautz for the opportunity to work with MET-2 and for assigning an interesting unclassified project. Additional thanks to Mike Bange for CFD guidance, insight of the project’s history, and draft review.

Development of macro-defect-free PBF-EB-processed Ti–6Al–4V alloys with superior plasticity using PREP-synthesized powder and machine learning-assisted process optimization

Development of macro-defect-free PBF-EB-processed Ti–6Al–4V alloys with superior plasticity using PREP-synthesized powder and machine learning-assisted process optimization

Yunwei GuiabKenta Aoyagib Akihiko Chibab
aDepartment of Materials Processing, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, 6-6 Aramaki Aza Aoba, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8579, Japan
bInstitute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, 2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8577, Japan

Received 14 October 2022, Revised 23 December 2022, Accepted 3 January 2023, Available online 5 January 2023.Show lessAdd to MendeleyShareCite rights and content


The elimination of internal macro-defects is a key issue in Ti–6Al–4V alloys fabricated via powder bed fusion using electron beams (PBF-EB), wherein internal macro-defects mainly originate from the virgin powder and inappropriate printing parameters. This study compares different types powders by combining support vector machine techniques to determine the most suitable powder for PBF-EB and to predict the processing window for the printing parameters without internal macro-defects. The results show that powders fabricated via plasma rotating electrode process have the best sphericity, flowability, and minimal porosity and are most suitable for printing. Surface roughness criterion was also applied to determine the quality of the even surfaces, and support vector machine was used to construct processing maps capable of predicting a wide range of four-dimensional printing parameters to obtain macro-defect-free samples, offering the possibility of subsequent development of Ti–6Al–4V alloys with excellent properties. The macro-defect-free samples exhibited good elongation, with the best overall mechanical properties being the ultimate tensile strength and elongation of 934.7 MPa and 24.3%, respectively. The elongation of the three macro-defect-free samples was much higher than that previously reported for additively manufactured Ti–6Al–4V alloys. The high elongation of the samples in this work is mainly attributed to the elimination of internal macro-defects.


Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies can rapidly manufacture complex or custom parts, reducing process steps and saving manufacturing time [[1], [2], [3], [4]], and are widely used in the aerospace, automotive, and other precision industries [5,6]. Powder bed fusion using an electron beam (PBF-EB) is an additive manufacturing method that uses a high-energy electron beam to melt metal powders layer by layer to produce parts. In contrast to selective laser melting, PBF-EB involves the preparation of samples in a high vacuum environment, which effectively prevents the introduction of impurities such as O and N. It also involves a preheating process for the print substrate and powder, which reduces residual thermal stress on the sample and subsequent heat treatment processes [[2], [3], [4],7]. Due to these features and advantages, PBF-EB technology is a very important AM technology with great potential in metallic materials. Moreover, PBF-EB is the ideal AM technology for the manufacture of complex components made of many alloys, such as titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, aluminum alloys and stainless steels [[2], [3], [4],8].

Ti–6Al–4V alloy is one of the prevalent commercial titanium alloys possessing high specific strength, excellent mechanical properties, excellent corrosion resistance, and good biocompatibility [9,10]. It is widely used in applications requiring low density and excellent corrosion resistance, such as the aerospace industry and biomechanical applications [11,12]. The mechanical properties of PBF-EB-processed Ti–6Al–4V alloys are superior to those fabricated by casting or forging, because the rapid cooling rate in PBF-EB results in finer grains [[12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18]]. However, the PBF-EB-fabricated parts often include internal macro-defects, which compromises their mechanical properties [[19], [20], [21], [22]]. This study focused on the elimination of macro-defects, such as porosity, lack of fusion, incomplete penetration and unmelted powders, which distinguishes them from micro-defects such as vacancies, dislocations, grain boundaries and secondary phases, etc. Large-sized fusion defects cause a severe reduction in mechanical strength. Smaller defects, such as pores and cracks, lead to the initiation of fatigue cracking and rapidly accelerate the cracking process [23]. The issue of internal macro-defects must be addressed to expand the application of the PBF-EB technology. The main studies for controlling internal macro-defects are online monitoring of defects, remelting and hot isostatic pressing (HIP). The literatures [24,25] report the use of infrared imaging or other imaging techniques to identify defects, but the monitoring of smaller sized defects is still not adequate. And in some cases remelting does not reduce the internal macro-defects of the part, but instead causes coarsening of the macrostructure and volatilization of some metal elements [23]. The HIP treatment does not completely eliminate the internal macro-defects, the original defect location may still act as a point of origin of the crack, and the subsequent treatment will consume more time and economic costs [23]. Therefore, optimizing suitable printing parameters to avoid internal macro-defects in printed parts at source is of great industrial value and research significance, and is an urgent issue in PBF-EB related technology.

There are two causes of internal macro-defects in the AM process: gas pores trapped in the virgin powder and the inappropriate printing parameters [7,23]. Gui et al. [26] classify internal macro-defects during PBF-EB process according to their shape, such as spherical defects, elongated shape defects, flat shape defects and other irregular shape defects. Of these, spherical defects mainly originate from raw material powders. Other shape defects mainly originate from lack of fusion or unmelted powders caused by unsuitable printing parameters, etc. The PBF-EB process requires powders with good flowability, and spherical powders are typically chosen as raw materials. The prevalent techniques for the fabrication of pre-alloyed powders are gas atomization (GA), plasma atomization (PA), and the plasma rotating electrode process (PREP) [27,28]. These methods yield powders with different characteristics that affect the subsequent fabrication. The selection of a suitable powder for PBF-EB is particularly important to produce Ti–6Al–4V alloys without internal macro-defects. The need to optimize several printing parameters such as beam current, scan speed, line offset, and focus offset make it difficult to eliminate internal macro-defects that occur during printing [23]. Most of the studies [11,12,22,[29], [30], [31], [32], [33]] on the optimization of AM processes for Ti–6Al–4V alloys have focused on samples with a limited set of parameters (e.g., power–scan speed) and do not allow for the guidance and development of unknown process windows for macro-defect-free samples. In addition, process optimization remains a time-consuming problem, with the traditional ‘trial and error’ method demanding considerable time and economic costs. The development of a simple and efficient method to predict the processing window for alloys without internal macro-defects is a key issue. In recent years, machine learning techniques have increasingly been used in the field of additive manufacturing and materials development [[34], [35], [36], [37]]. Aoyagi et al. [38] recently proposed a novel and efficient method based on a support vector machine (SVM) to optimize the two-dimensional process parameters (current and scan speed) and obtain PBF-EB-processed CoCr alloys without internal macro-defects. The method is one of the potential approaches toward effective optimization of more than two process parameters and makes it possible for the machine learning techniques to accelerate the development of alloys without internal macro-defects.

Herein, we focus on the elimination of internal macro-defects, such as pores, lack of fusion, etc., caused by raw powders and printing parameters. The Ti–6Al–4V powders produced by three different methods were compared, and the powder with the best sphericity, flowability, and minimal porosity was selected as the feedstock for subsequent printing. The relationship between the surface roughness and internal macro-defects in the Ti–6Al–4V components was also investigated. The combination of SVM and surface roughness indices (Sdr) predicted a wider four-dimensional processing window for obtaining Ti–6Al–4V alloys without internal macro-defects. Finally, we investigated the tensile properties of Ti–6Al–4V alloys at room temperature with different printing parameters, as well as the corresponding microstructures and fracture types.

Section snippets

Starting materials

Three types of Ti–6Al–4V alloy powders, produced by GA, PA, and PREP, were compared. The particle size distribution of the powders was determined using a laser particle size analyzer (LS230, Beckman Coulter, USA), and the flowability was measured using a Hall flowmeter (JIS-Z2502, Tsutsui Scientific Instruments Co., Ltd., Japan), according to the ASTM B213 standard. The powder morphology and internal macro-defects were determined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM, JEOL JCM-6000) and X-ray 

Comparison of the characteristics of GA, PA, and PREP Ti–6Al–4V powders

The particle size distributions (PSDs) and flowability of the three types of Ti–6Al–4V alloy powders produced by GA, PA, and PREP are shown in Fig. 2. Although the average particle sizes are similar (89.4 μm for GA, 82.5 μm for PA, and 86.1μm for PREP), the particle size range is different for the three types of powder (6.2–174.8 μm for GA, 27.3–139.2 μm for PA, and 39.4–133.9 μm for PREP). The flowability of the GA, PA, and PREP powders was 30.25 ± 0.98, 26.54 ± 0.37, and 25.03 ± 0.22 (s/50


The characteristics of the three types of Ti–6Al–4V alloy powders produced via GA, PA, and PREP were compared. The PREP powder with the best sphericity, flowability, and low porosity was found to be the most favorable powder for subsequent printing of Ti–6Al–4V alloys without internal macro-defects. The quantitative criterion of Sdr <0.015 for even surfaces was also found to be applicable to Ti–6Al–4V alloys. The process maps of Ti–6Al–4V alloys include two regions, high beam current/scan speed 

Uncited references

[55]; [56]; [57]; [58]; [59]; [60]; [61]; [62]; [63]; [64]; [65].

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Yunwei Gui: Writing – original draft, Visualization, Validation, Investigation. Kenta Aoyagi: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Resources, Methodology, Funding acquisition, Conceptualization. Akihiko Chiba: Supervision, Funding acquisition.

Declaration of competing interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


This study was based on the results obtained from project JPNP19007, commissioned by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). This work was also supported by JSPS KAKENHI (Proposal No. 21K03801) and the Inter-University Cooperative Research Program (Proposal nos. 18G0418, 19G0411, and 20G0418) of the Cooperative Research and Development Center for Advanced Materials, Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University. It was also supported by the Council for

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Figura 7. Influencia del modelo de turbulencia. Qmodelo=27.95l/s.

Flow-3D를 사용하여 전산유체역학(CFD)을 적용한 빠른 단계의 플러시 유동 수치 모델링

Numerical Modeling of Flush Flow in a Rapid Step Applying Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Using Flow-3D.

레브 폴리텍. (Quito) [온라인]. 2018, vol.41, n.2, pp.53-64. ISSN 2477-8990.

이 프로젝트의 주요 목표는 FLOW-3D를 사용하여 계단식 여수로에서 스키밍 흐름의 수치 모델링을 개발하는 것입니다. 이러한 구조의 설계는 물리적 모델링에서 얻은 경험적 표현과 CFD 코드를 지원하는 계단식 여수로를 통한 흐름의 수치 모델링에서 보완 연구를 기반으로 합니다. 수치 모델은 균일한 영역의 유속과 계단 여수로의 마찰 계수를 추정하는 데 사용됩니다(ϴ = 45º, Hd=4.61m). 흐름에 대한 자동 통기의 표현은 복잡하므로 프로그램은 공기 연행 모델을 사용하여 특정 제한이 있는 솔루션에 근접합니다.

The main objective of this project is to develop the numerical modeling of the skimming flow in a stepped spillway using FLOW-3D. The design of these structures is based on the use of empirical expressions obtained from physical modeling and complementary studies in the numerical modeling of flow over the stepped spillway with support of CFD code. The numerical model is used to estimate the flow velocity in the uniform region and the friction coefficient of the stepped spillway (ϴ = 45º, Hd=4.61m). The representation of auto aeration a flow is complex, so the program approximates the solution with certain limitations, using an air entrainment model; drift flux model and turbulence model k-ԑ RNG. The results obtained with numerical modeling and physical modeling at the beginning of natural auto aeration of flow and depth of the biphasic flow in the uniform region presents deviations above to 10% perhaps the flow is highly turbulent.

Keywords : Stepped spillway; skimming flow; air entrainment; drift flux; numerical modeling; FLOW-3D.

Keywords : 계단식 여수로; 스키밍 흐름; 공기 연행; 드리프트 플럭스; 수치 모델링; 흐름-3D.· 

스페인어로 된 초록 · 스페인어 로 된 텍스트 · 스페인어로 된 텍스트( pdf 

Figure 1. Grazing flow over a rapid step.
Figure 1. Grazing flow over a rapid step.
Figura 2. Principales regiones existentes en un flujo rasante.
Figura 2. Principales regiones existentes en un flujo rasante.
Figure 3. Dimensions of the El Batán stepped rapid.
Figure 3. Dimensions of the El Batán stepped rapid.
Figure 4. 3D physical model of the El Batán stepped rapid
Figure 4. 3D physical model of the El Batán stepped rapid
Figura 7. Influencia del modelo de turbulencia. Qmodelo=27.95l/s.
Figura 7. Influencia del modelo de turbulencia. Qmodelo=27.95l/s.


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Figure 5: 3D & 2D views of simulated fill sequence of a hollow cylinder at 1000 rpm and 1500 rpm at various time intervals during filling.

Computer Simulation of Centrifugal Casting Process using FLOW-3D

Aneesh Kumar J1, a, K. Krishnakumar1, b and S. Savithri2, c 1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 2 Computational Modelling& Simulation Division, Process Engineering & Environmental Technology Division CSIR-National Institute for Interdisciplinary Science & Technology
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India.
a, b, c, Key words: Mold filling, centrifugal casting process, computer simulation, FLOW- 3D™


원심 주조 공정은 기능적으로 등급이 지정된 재료, 즉 구성 요소 간에 밀도 차이가 큰 복합 재료 또는 금속 재료를 생산하는 데 사용되는 잠재적인 제조 기술 중 하나입니다. 이 공정에서 유체 흐름이 중요한 역할을 하며 복잡한 흐름 공정을 이해하는 것은 결함 없는 주물을 생산하는 데 필수입니다. 금형이 고속으로 회전하고 금형 벽이 불투명하기 때문에 흐름 패턴을 실시간으로 시각화하는 것은 불가능합니다. 따라서 현재 연구에서는 상용 CFD 코드 FLOW-3D™를 사용하여 수직 원심 주조 공정 중 단순 중공 원통형 주조에 대한 금형 충전 시퀀스를 시뮬레이션했습니다. 수직 원심주조 공정 중 다양한 방사 속도가 충전 패턴에 미치는 영향을 조사하고 있습니다.

Centrifugal casting process is one of the potential manufacturing techniques used for producing functionally graded materials viz., composite materials or metallic materials which have high differences of density among constituents. In this process, the fluid flow plays a major role and understanding the complex flow process is a must for the production of defect-free castings. Since the mold spins at a high velocity and the mold wall being opaque, it is impossible to visualise the flow patterns in real time. Hence, in the present work, the commercial CFD code FLOW-3D™, has been used to simulate the mold filling sequence for a simple hollow cylindrical casting during vertical centrifugal casting process. Effect of various spinning velocities on the fill pattern during vertical centrifugal casting process is being investigated.

Figure 1: (a) Mold geometry and (b) Computational mesh
Figure 1: (a) Mold geometry and (b) Computational mesh
Figure 2: Experimental data on height of
vertex formed [8]  / Figure 3: Vertex height as a function of time
Figure 2: Experimental data on height of vertex formed [8]/Figure 3: Vertex height as a function of time
Figure 4: Free surface contours for water model at 10 s, 15 s and 20 s.
Figure 4: Free surface contours for water model at 10 s, 15 s and 20 s.
Figure 5: 3D & 2D views of simulated fill sequence of a hollow cylinder at 1000 rpm and 1500 rpm at various time intervals during filling.
Figure 5: 3D & 2D views of simulated fill sequence of a hollow cylinder at 1000 rpm and 1500 rpm at various time intervals during filling.


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Figure 2. Different PKW Types.

A review of Piano Key Weir as a superior alternative for dam rehabilitation

댐 복구를 위한 우수한 대안으로서의 Piano Key Weir에 대한 검토

Amiya Abhash &

K. K. Pandey

Pages 541-551 | Received 03 Mar 2020, Accepted 07 May 2020, Published online: 21 May 2020


Dams fall in ‘installations containing dangerous forces’ because of their massive impact on the environment and civilian life and property as per International humanitarian law. As such, it becomes vital for hydraulic engineers to refurbish various solutions for dam rehabilitation. This paper presents a review of a new type of weir installation called Piano Key Weir (PKW), which is becoming popular around the world for its higher spillway capacity both for existing and new dam spillway installations. This paper reviews the geometry along with structural integrity, discharging capacity, economic aspects, aeration requirements, sediment transport and erosion aspects of Piano Key Weir (PKW) as compared with other traditional spillway structures and alternatives from literature. The comparison with other alternatives shows PKW to be an excellent alternative for dam risk mitigation owing to its high spillway capabilities and economy, along with its use in both existing and new hydraulic structures.

댐은 국제 인도법에 따라 환경과 민간인 생활 및 재산에 막대한 영향을 미치기 때문에 ‘위험한 힘을 포함하는 시설물’에 속합니다. 따라서 유압 엔지니어는 댐 복구를 위한 다양한 솔루션을 재정비해야 합니다.

이 백서에서는 PKW(Piano Key Weir)라는 새로운 유형의 둑 설치에 대한 검토를 제공합니다. PKW는 기존 및 신규 댐 방수로 설치 모두에서 더 높은 방수로 용량으로 전 세계적으로 인기를 얻고 있습니다.

이 백서에서는 구조적 무결성, 배출 용량, 경제적 측면, 폭기 요구 사항, 퇴적물 운반 및 PKW(Piano Key Weir)의 침식 측면과 함께 다른 전통적인 여수로 구조 및 문헌의 대안과 비교하여 기하학을 검토합니다.

다른 대안과의 비교는 PKW가 높은 여수로 기능과 경제성으로 인해 댐 위험 완화를 위한 탁월한 대안이며 기존 및 새로운 수력 구조물 모두에 사용됨을 보여줍니다.


Figure 2. Different PKW Types.
Figure 2. Different PKW Types.


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