Coupled CFD-DEM simulation of interfacial fluid–particle interaction during binder jet 3D printing

Coupled CFD-DEM simulation of interfacial fluid–particle interaction during binder jet 3D printing

바인더 제트 3D 프린팅 중 계면 유체-입자 상호 작용에 대한 CFD-DEM 결합 시뮬레이션

Joshua J. Wagner, C. Fred Higgs III

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cma.2024.116747

Abstract

The coupled dynamics of interfacial fluid phases and unconstrained solid particles during the binder jet 3D printing process govern the final quality and performance of the resulting components. The present work proposes a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element method (DEM) framework capable of simulating the complex interfacial fluid–particle interaction that occurs when binder microdroplets are deposited into a powder bed. The CFD solver uses a volume-of-fluid (VOF) method for capturing liquid–gas multifluid flows and relies on block-structured adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) to localize grid refinement around evolving fluid–fluid interfaces. The DEM module resolves six degrees of freedom particle motion and accounts for particle contact, cohesion, and rolling resistance. Fully-resolved CFD-DEM coupling is achieved through a fictitious domain immersed boundary (IB) approach. An improved method for enforcing three-phase contact lines with a VOF-IB extension technique is introduced. We present several simulations of binder jet primitive formation using realistic process parameters and material properties. The DEM particle systems are experimentally calibrated to reproduce the cohesion behavior of physical nickel alloy powder feedstocks. We demonstrate the proposed model’s ability to resolve the interdependent fluid and particle dynamics underlying the process by directly comparing simulated primitive granules with one-to-one experimental counterparts obtained from an in-house validation apparatus. This computational framework provides unprecedented insight into the fundamental mechanisms of binder jet 3D printing and presents a versatile new approach for process parameter optimization and defect mitigation that avoids the inherent challenges of experiments.

바인더 젯 3D 프린팅 공정 중 계면 유체 상과 구속되지 않은 고체 입자의 결합 역학이 결과 구성 요소의 최종 품질과 성능을 좌우합니다. 본 연구는 바인더 미세액적이 분말층에 증착될 때 발생하는 복잡한 계면 유체-입자 상호작용을 시뮬레이션할 수 있는 전산유체역학(CFD) 및 이산요소법(DEM) 프레임워크를 제안합니다.

CFD 솔버는 액체-가스 다중유체 흐름을 포착하기 위해 VOF(유체량) 방법을 사용하고 블록 구조 적응형 메쉬 세분화(AMR)를 사용하여 진화하는 유체-유체 인터페이스 주위의 그리드 세분화를 국지화합니다. DEM 모듈은 6개의 자유도 입자 운동을 해결하고 입자 접촉, 응집력 및 구름 저항을 설명합니다.

완전 분해된 CFD-DEM 결합은 가상 도메인 침지 경계(IB) 접근 방식을 통해 달성됩니다. VOF-IB 확장 기술을 사용하여 3상 접촉 라인을 강화하는 향상된 방법이 도입되었습니다. 현실적인 공정 매개변수와 재료 특성을 사용하여 바인더 제트 기본 형성에 대한 여러 시뮬레이션을 제시합니다.

DEM 입자 시스템은 물리적 니켈 합금 분말 공급원료의 응집 거동을 재현하기 위해 실험적으로 보정되었습니다. 우리는 시뮬레이션된 기본 과립과 내부 검증 장치에서 얻은 일대일 실험 대응물을 직접 비교하여 프로세스의 기본이 되는 상호 의존적인 유체 및 입자 역학을 해결하는 제안된 모델의 능력을 보여줍니다.

이 계산 프레임워크는 바인더 제트 3D 프린팅의 기본 메커니즘에 대한 전례 없는 통찰력을 제공하고 실험에 내재된 문제를 피하는 공정 매개변수 최적화 및 결함 완화를 위한 다용도의 새로운 접근 방식을 제시합니다.

Introduction

Binder jet 3D printing (BJ3DP) is a powder bed additive manufacturing (AM) technology capable of fabricating geometrically complex components from advanced engineering materials, such as metallic superalloys and ultra-high temperature ceramics [1], [2]. As illustrated in Fig. 1(a), the process is comprised of many repetitive print cycles, each contributing a new cross-sectional layer on top of a preceding one to form a 3D CAD-specified geometry. The feedstock material is first delivered from a hopper to a build plate and then spread into a thin layer by a counter-rotating roller. After powder spreading, a print head containing many individual inkjet nozzles traverses over the powder bed while precisely jetting binder microdroplets onto select regions of the spread layer. Following binder deposition, the build plate lowers by a specified layer thickness, leaving a thin void space at the top of the job box that the subsequent powder layer will occupy. This cycle repeats until the full geometries are formed layer by layer. Powder bed fusion (PBF) methods follow a similar procedure, except they instead use a laser or electron beam to selectively melt and fuse the powder material. Compared to PBF, binder jetting offers several distinct advantages, including faster build rates, enhanced scalability for large production volumes, reduced machine and operational costs, and a wider selection of suitable feedstock materials [2]. However, binder jetted parts generally possess inferior mechanical properties and reduced dimensional accuracy [3]. As a result, widescale adoption of BJ3DP to fabricate high-performance, mission-critical components, such as those common to the aerospace and defense sectors, is contingent on novel process improvements and innovations [4].

A major obstacle hindering the advancement of BJ3DP is our limited understanding of how various printing parameters and material properties collectively influence the underlying physical mechanisms of the process and their effect on the resulting components. To date, the vast majority of research efforts to uncover these relationships have relied mainly on experimental approaches [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19], which are often expensive and time-consuming and have inherent physical restrictions on what can be measured and observed. For these reasons, there is a rapidly growing interest in using computational models to circumvent the challenges of experimental investigations and facilitate a deeper understanding of the process’s fundamental phenomena. While significant progress has been made in developing and deploying numerical frameworks aimed at powder spreading [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27] and sintering [28], [29], [30], [31], [32], simulating the interfacial fluid–particle interaction (IFPI) in the binder deposition stage is still in its infancy. In their exhaustive review, Mostafaei et al. [2] point out the lack of computational models capable of resolving the coupled fluid and particle dynamics associated with binder jetting and suggest that the development of such tools is critical to further improving the process and enhancing the quality of its end-use components.

We define IFPI as a multiphase flow regime characterized by immiscible fluid phases separated by dynamic interfaces that intersect the surfaces of moving solid particles. As illustrated in Fig. 1(b), an elaborate IFPI occurs when a binder droplet impacts the powder bed in BJ3DP. The momentum transferred from the impacting droplet may cause powder compaction, cratering, and particle ejection. These ballistic disturbances can have deleterious effects on surface texture and lead to the formation of large void spaces inside the part [5], [13]. After impact, the droplet spreads laterally on the bed surface and vertically into the pore network, driven initially by inertial impact forces and then solely by capillary action [33]. Attractive capillary forces exerted on mutually wetted particles tend to draw them inward towards each other, forming a packed cluster of bound particles referred to as a primitive [34]. A single-drop primitive is the most fundamental building element of a BJ3DP part, and the interaction leading to its formation has important implications on the final part characteristics, such as its mechanical properties, resolution, and dimensional accuracy. Generally, binder droplets are deposited successively as the print head traverses over the powder bed. The traversal speed and jetting frequency are set such that consecutive droplets coalesce in the bed, creating a multi-drop primitive line instead of a single-drop primitive granule. The binder must be jetted with sufficient velocity to penetrate the powder bed deep enough to provide adequate interlayer binding; however, a higher impact velocity leads to more pronounced ballistic effects.

A computational framework equipped to simulate the interdependent fluid and particle dynamics in BJ3DP would allow for unprecedented observational and measurement capability at temporal and spatial resolutions not currently achievable by state-of-the-art imaging technology, namely synchrotron X-ray imaging [13], [14], [18], [19]. Unfortunately, BJ3DP presents significant numerical challenges that have slowed the development of suitable modeling frameworks; the most significant of which are as follows:

  • 1.Incorporating dynamic fluid–fluid interfaces with complex topological features remains a nontrivial task for standard mesh-based CFD codes. There are two broad categories encompassing the methods used to handle interfacial flows: interface tracking and interface capturing [35]. Interface capturing techniques, such as the popular volume-of-fluid (VOF) [36] and level-set methods [37], [38], are better suited for problems with interfaces that become heavily distorted or when coalescence and fragmentation occur frequently; however, they are less accurate in resolving surface tension and boundary layer effects compared to interface tracking methods like front-tracking [39], arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian [40], and space–time finite element formulations [41]. Since interfacial forces become increasingly dominant at decreasing length scales, inaccurate surface tension calculations can significantly deteriorate the fidelity of IFPI simulations involving <100 μm droplets and particles.
  • 2.Dynamic powder systems are often modeled using the discrete element method (DEM) introduced by Cundall and Strack [42]. For IFPI problems, a CFD-DEM coupling scheme is required to exchange information between the fluid and particle solvers. Fully-resolved CFD-DEM coupling suggests that the flow field around individual particle surfaces is resolved on the CFD mesh [43], [44]. In contrast, unresolved coupling volume averages the effect of the dispersed solid phase on the continuous fluid phases [45], [46], [47], [48]. Comparatively, the former is computationally expensive but provides detailed information about the IFPI in question and is more appropriate when contact line dynamics are significant. However, since the pore structure of a powder bed is convoluted and evolves with time, resolving such solid–fluid interfaces on a computational mesh presents similar challenges as fluid–fluid interfaces discussed in the previous point. Although various algorithms have been developed to deform unstructured meshes to accommodate moving solid surfaces (see Bazilevs et al. [49] for an overview of such methods), they can be prohibitively expensive when frequent topology changes require mesh regeneration rather than just modification through nodal displacement. The pore network in a powder bed undergoes many topology changes as particles come in and out of contact with each other, constantly closing and opening new flow channels. Non-body-conforming structured grid approaches that rely on immersed boundary (IB) methods to embed the particles in the flow field can be better suited for such cases [50]. Nevertheless, accurately representing these complex pore geometries on Cartesian grids requires extremely high mesh resolutions, which can impose significant computational costs.
  • 3.Capillary effects depend on the contact angle at solid–liquid–gas intersections. Since mesh nodes do not coincide with a particle surface when using an IB method on structured grids, imposing contact angle boundary conditions at three-phase contact lines is not straightforward.

While these issues also pertain to PBF process modeling, resolving particle motion is generally less crucial for analyzing melt pool dynamics compared to primitive formation in BJ3DP. Therefore, at present, the vast majority of computational process models of PBF assume static powder beds and avoid many of the complications described above, see, e.g., [51], [52], [53], [54], [55], [56], [57], [58], [59]. Li et al. [60] presented the first 2D fully-resolved CFD-DEM simulations of the interaction between the melt pool, powder particles, surrounding gas, and metal vapor in PBF. Following this work, Yu and Zhao [61], [62] published similar melt pool IFPI simulations in 3D; however, contact line dynamics and capillary forces were not considered. Compared to PBF, relatively little work has been published regarding the computational modeling of binder deposition in BJ3DP. Employing the open-source VOF code Gerris [63], Tan [33] first simulated droplet impact on a powder bed with appropriate binder jet parameters, namely droplet size and impact velocity. However, similar to most PBF melt pool simulations described in the current literature, the powder bed was fixed in place and not allowed to respond to the interacting fluid phases. Furthermore, a simple face-centered cubic packing of non-contacting, monosized particles was considered, which does not provide a realistic pore structure for AM powder beds. Building upon this approach, we presented a framework to simulate droplet impact on static powder beds with more practical particle size distributions and packing arrangements [64]. In a study similar to [33], [64], Deng et al. [65] used the VOF capability in Ansys Fluent to examine the lateral and vertical spreading of a binder droplet impacting a fixed bimodal powder bed with body-centered packing. Li et al. [66] also adopted Fluent to conduct 2D simulations of a 100 μm diameter droplet impacting substrates with spherical roughness patterns meant to represent the surface of a simplified powder bed with monosized particles. The commercial VOF-based software FLOW-3D offers an AM module centered on process modeling of various AM technologies, including BJ3DP. However, like the above studies, particle motion is still not considered in this codebase. Ur Rehman et al. [67] employed FLOW-3D to examine microdroplet impact on a fixed stainless steel powder bed. Using OpenFOAM, Erhard et al. [68] presented simulations of different droplet impact spacings and patterns on static sand particles.

Recently, Fuchs et al. [69] introduced an impressive multipurpose smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) framework capable of resolving IFPI in various AM methods, including both PBF and BJ3DP. In contrast to a combined CFD-DEM approach, this model relies entirely on SPH meshfree discretization of both the fluid and solid governing equations. The authors performed several prototype simulations demonstrating an 80 μm diameter droplet impacting an unconstrained powder bed at different speeds. While the powder bed responds to the hydrodynamic forces imparted by the impacting droplet, the particle motion is inconsistent with experimental time-resolved observations of the process [13]. Specifically, the ballistic effects, such as particle ejection and bed deformation, were drastically subdued, even in simulations using a droplet velocity ∼ 5× that of typical jetting conditions. This behavior could be caused by excessive damping in the inter-particle contact force computations within their SPH framework. Moreover, the wetted particles did not appear to be significantly influenced by the strong capillary forces exerted by the binder as no primitive agglomeration occurred. The authors mention that the objective of these simulations was to demonstrate their codebase’s broad capabilities and that some unrealistic process parameters were used to improve computational efficiency and stability, which could explain the deviations from experimental observations.

In the present paper, we develop a novel 3D CFD-DEM numerical framework for simulating fully-resolved IFPI during binder jetting with realistic material properties and process parameters. The CFD module is based on the VOF method for capturing binder–air interfaces. Surface tension effects are realized through the continuum surface force (CSF) method with height function calculations of interface curvature. Central to our fluid solver is a proprietary block-structured AMR library with hierarchical octree grid nesting to focus enhanced grid resolution near fluid–fluid interfaces. The GPU-accelerated DEM module considers six degrees of freedom particle motion and includes models based on Hertz-Mindlin contact, van der Waals cohesion, and viscoelastic rolling resistance. The CFD and DEM modules are coupled to achieve fully-resolved IFPI using an IB approach in which Lagrangian solid particles are mapped to the underlying Eulerian fluid mesh through a solid volume fraction field. An improved VOF-IB extension algorithm is introduced to enforce the contact angle at three-phase intersections. This provides robust capillary flow behavior and accurate computations of the fluid-induced forces and torques acting on individual wetted particles in densely packed powder beds.

We deploy our integrated codebase for direct numerical simulations of single-drop primitive formation with powder beds whose particle size distributions are generated from corresponding laboratory samples. These simulations use jetting parameters similar to those employed in current BJ3DP machines, fluid properties that match commonly used aqueous polymeric binders, and powder properties specific to nickel alloy feedstocks. The cohesion behavior of the DEM powder is calibrated based on the angle of repose of the laboratory powder systems. The resulting primitive granules are compared with those obtained from one-to-one experiments conducted using a dedicated in-house test apparatus. Finally, we demonstrate how the proposed framework can simulate more complex and realistic printing operations involving multi-drop primitive lines.

Section snippets

Mathematical description of interfacial fluid–particle interaction

This section briefly describes the governing equations of fluid and particle dynamics underlying the CFD and DEM solvers. Our unified framework follows an Eulerian–Lagrangian approach, wherein the Navier–Stokes equations of incompressible flow are discretized on an Eulerian grid to describe the motion of the binder liquid and surrounding gas, and the Newton–Euler equations account for the positions and orientations of the Lagrangian powder particles. The mathematical foundation for

CFD solver for incompressible flow with multifluid interfaces

This section details the numerical methodology used in our CFD module to solve the Navier–Stokes equations of incompressible flow. First, we introduce the VOF method for capturing the interfaces between the binder and air phases. This approach allows us to solve the fluid dynamics equations considering only a single continuum field with spatial and temporal variations in fluid properties. Next, we describe the time integration procedure using a fractional-step projection algorithm for

DEM solver for solid particle dynamics

This section covers the numerical procedure for tracking the motion of individual powder particles with DEM. The Newton–Euler equations (Eqs. (10), (11)) are ordinary differential equations (ODEs) for which many established numerical integrators are available. In general, the most challenging aspects of DEM involve processing particle collisions in a computationally efficient manner and dealing with small time step constraints that result from stiff materials, such as metallic AM powders. The

Unified CFD-DEM solver

The preceding sections have introduced the CFD and DEM solution algorithms separately. Here, we discuss the integrated CFD-DEM solution algorithm and related details.

Binder jet process modeling and validation experiments

In this section, we deploy our CFD-DEM framework to simulate the IFPI occurring during the binder droplet deposition stage of the BJ3DP process. The first simulations attempt to reproduce experimental single-drop primitive granules extracted from four nickel alloy powder samples with varying particle size distributions. The experiments are conducted with a dedicated in-house test apparatus that allows for the precision deposition of individual binder microdroplets into a powder bed sample. The

Conclusions

This paper introduces a coupled CFD-DEM framework capable of fully-resolved simulation of the interfacial fluid–particle interaction occurring in the binder jet 3D printing process. The interfacial flow of binder and surrounding air is captured with the VOF method and surface tension effects are incorporated using the CSF technique augmented by height function curvature calculations. Block-structured AMR is employed to provide localized grid refinement around the evolving liquid–gas interface.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Joshua J. Wagner: Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Software, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. C. Fred Higgs III: Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing.

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.

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, United States of America, Grant No. 80NSSC19K1171. Partial support was also provided through an AIAA Foundation Orville, USA and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award, USA . The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr. Craig Smith of NASA Glenn Research Center for the valuable input he provided on this project.

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Influences of the Powder Size and Process Parameters on the Quasi-Stability of Molten Pool Shape in Powder Bed Fusion-Laser Beam of Molybdenum

Influences of the Powder Size and Process Parameters on the Quasi-Stability of Molten Pool Shape in Powder Bed Fusion-Laser Beam of Molybdenum

몰리브덴 분말층 융합-레이저 빔의 용융 풀 형태의 준안정성에 대한 분말 크기 및 공정 매개변수의 영향

Abstract

Formation of a quasi-steady molten pool is one of the necessary conditions for achieving excellent quality in many laser processes. The influences of distribution characteristics of powder sizes on quasi-stability of the molten pool shape during single-track powder bed fusion-laser beam (PBF-LB) of molybdenum and the underlying mechanism were investigated.

The feasibility of improving quasi-stability of the molten pool shape by increasing the laser energy conduction effect and preheating was explored. Results show that an increase in the range of powder sizes does not significantly influence the average laser energy conduction effect in PBF-LB process. Whereas, it intensifies fluctuations of the transient laser energy conduction effect.

It also leads to fluctuations of the replenishment rate of metals, difficulty in formation of the quasi-steady molten pool, and increased probability of incomplete fusion and pores defects. As the laser power rises, the laser energy conduction effect increases, which improves the quasi-stability of the molten pool shape. When increasing the laser scanning speed, the laser energy conduction effect grows.

However, because the molten pool size reduces due to the decreased heat input, the replenishment rate of metals of the molten pool fluctuates more obviously and the quasi-stability of the molten pool shape gets worse. On the whole, the laser energy conduction effect in the PBF-LB process of Mo is low (20-40%). The main factor that affects quasi-stability of the molten pool shape is the amount of energy input per unit length of the scanning path, rather than the laser energy conduction effect.

Moreover, substrate preheating can not only enlarge the molten pool size, particularly the length, but also reduce non-uniformity and discontinuity of surface morphologies of clad metals and inhibit incomplete fusion and pores defects.

준안정 용융 풀의 형성은 많은 레이저 공정에서 우수한 품질을 달성하는 데 필요한 조건 중 하나입니다. 몰리브덴의 단일 트랙 분말층 융합 레이저 빔(PBF-LB) 동안 용융 풀 형태의 준안정성에 대한 분말 크기 분포 특성의 영향과 그 기본 메커니즘을 조사했습니다.

레이저 에너지 전도 효과와 예열을 증가시켜 용융 풀 형태의 준안정성을 향상시키는 타당성을 조사했습니다. 결과는 분말 크기 범위의 증가가 PBF-LB 공정의 평균 레이저 에너지 전도 효과에 큰 영향을 미치지 않음을 보여줍니다. 반면, 과도 레이저 에너지 전도 효과의 변동이 강화됩니다.

이는 또한 금속 보충 속도의 변동, 준안정 용융 풀 형성의 어려움, 불완전 융합 및 기공 결함 가능성 증가로 이어집니다. 레이저 출력이 증가함에 따라 레이저 에너지 전도 효과가 증가하여 용융 풀 모양의 준 안정성이 향상됩니다. 레이저 스캐닝 속도를 높이면 레이저 에너지 전도 효과가 커집니다.

그러나 열 입력 감소로 인해 용융 풀 크기가 줄어들기 때문에 용융 풀의 금속 보충 속도의 변동이 더욱 뚜렷해지고 용융 풀 형태의 준안정성이 악화됩니다.

전체적으로 Mo의 PBF-LB 공정에서 레이저 에너지 전도 효과는 낮다(20~40%). 용융 풀 형상의 준안정성에 영향을 미치는 주요 요인은 레이저 에너지 전도 효과보다는 스캐닝 경로의 단위 길이당 입력되는 에너지의 양입니다.

또한 기판 예열은 용융 풀 크기, 특히 길이를 확대할 수 있을 뿐만 아니라 클래드 금속 표면 형태의 불균일성과 불연속성을 줄이고 불완전한 융합 및 기공 결함을 억제합니다.

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Figure 5. Simulation of the molten pool under low-speed scanning (1.06 m/s). (a) Sequential solidification of the molten pool at the end of the melt track for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (b) Recoil pressure on the molten pool at the keyhole for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (c) The force diagram of the melt at the back of the keyhole at t = 750 μs in case B. (d) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case A. (e) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case B.

Revealing formation mechanism of end of processdepression in laser powder bed fusion by multiphysics meso-scale simulation

다중물리 메조 규모 시뮬레이션을 통해 레이저 분말층 융합에서 공정 종료의 함몰 형성 메커니즘 공개

Haodong Chen a,b, Xin Lin a,b,c, Yajing Sund, Shuhao Wanga,b, Kunpeng Zhu a,b,c and Binbin Dana,b

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/17452759.2024.2326599

ABSTRACT

Unintended end-of-process depression (EOPD) commonly occurs in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), leading to poor surface quality and lower fatigue strength, especially for many implants. In this study, a high-fidelity multi-physics meso-scale simulation model is developed to uncover the forming mechanism of this defect. A defect-process map of the EOPD phenomenon is obtained using this simulation model. It is found that the EOPD formation mechanisms are different under distinct regions of process parameters. At low scanning speeds in keyhole mode, the long-lasting recoil pressure and the large temperature gradient easily induce EOPD. While at high scanning speeds in keyhole mode, the shallow molten pool morphology and the large solidification rate allow the keyhole to evolve into an EOPD quickly. Nevertheless, in the conduction mode, the Marangoni effects along with a faster solidification rate induce EOPD. Finally, a ‘step’ variable power strategy is proposed to optimise the EOPD defects for the case with high volumetric energy density at low scanning speeds. This work provides a profound understanding and valuable insights into the quality control of LPBF fabrication.

의도하지 않은 공정 종료 후 함몰(EOPD)은 LPBF(레이저 분말층 융합)에서 흔히 발생하며, 특히 많은 임플란트의 경우 표면 품질이 떨어지고 피로 강도가 낮아집니다. 본 연구에서는 이 결함의 형성 메커니즘을 밝히기 위해 충실도가 높은 다중 물리학 메조 규모 시뮬레이션 모델을 개발했습니다.

이 시뮬레이션 모델을 사용하여 EOPD 현상의 결함 프로세스 맵을 얻습니다. EOPD 형성 메커니즘은 공정 매개변수의 별개 영역에서 서로 다른 것으로 밝혀졌습니다.

키홀 모드의 낮은 스캔 속도에서는 오래 지속되는 반동 압력과 큰 온도 구배로 인해 EOPD가 쉽게 유발됩니다. 키홀 모드에서 높은 스캐닝 속도를 유지하는 동안 얕은 용융 풀 형태와 큰 응고 속도로 인해 키홀이 EOPD로 빠르게 진화할 수 있습니다.

그럼에도 불구하고 전도 모드에서는 더 빠른 응고 속도와 함께 마랑고니 효과가 EOPD를 유발합니다. 마지막으로, 낮은 스캐닝 속도에서 높은 체적 에너지 밀도를 갖는 경우에 대해 EOPD 결함을 최적화하기 위한 ‘단계’ 가변 전력 전략이 제안되었습니다.

이 작업은 LPBF 제조의 품질 관리에 대한 심오한 이해와 귀중한 통찰력을 제공합니다.

Figure 5. Simulation of the molten pool under low-speed scanning (1.06 m/s). (a) Sequential solidification of the molten pool at the
end of the melt track for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (b) Recoil pressure on the molten pool at the keyhole for laser
powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (c) The force diagram of the melt at the back of the keyhole at t = 750 μs in case B. (d) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case A. (e) Temperature
gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case B.
Figure 5. Simulation of the molten pool under low-speed scanning (1.06 m/s). (a) Sequential solidification of the molten pool at the end of the melt track for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (b) Recoil pressure on the molten pool at the keyhole for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (c) The force diagram of the melt at the back of the keyhole at t = 750 μs in case B. (d) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case A. (e) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case B.

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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
https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0191504

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.

Topics

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

I. INTRODUCTION

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.

II. MODELING

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,

(1)����¨=∑�(�ij×�ij),

(2)

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����)],

(3)

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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,

(4)1�*=(1−��2)��+(1−��2)��,

(5)1�*=1��+1��,

(6)

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.

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

FIG. 3.

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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,

(7)

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

FIG. 4.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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,

(8)

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.

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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

TABLE I.

SS316L-related parameters.

PropertySymbolValue
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 

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

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.

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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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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,

(17)

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

FIG. 10.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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

FIG. 12.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

TABLE II.

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

TABLE III.

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

TABLE IV.

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.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

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.

TABLE V.

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 

IV. CONCLUSIONS

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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Fig. 1. Schematic figure showing the PREP with additional gas flowing on the end face of electrode.

플라즈마 회전 전극 공정 중 분말 형성에 대한 공정 매개변수 및 냉각 가스의 영향

Effects of process parameters and cooling gas on powder formation during the plasma rotating electrode process

Yujie Cuia Yufan Zhaoa1 Haruko Numatab Kenta Yamanakaa Huakang Biana Kenta Aoyagia AkihikoChibaa
aInstitute for Materials Research, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8577, JapanbDepartment of Materials Processing, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8577, Japan

Highlights

•The limitation of increasing the rotational speed in decreasing powder size was clarified.

•Cooling and disturbance effects varied with the gas flowing rate.

•Inclined angle of the residual electrode end face affected powder formation.

•Additional cooling gas flowing could be applied to control powder size.

Abstract

The plasma rotating electrode process (PREP) is rapidly becoming an important powder fabrication method in additive manufacturing. However, the low production rate of fine PREP powder limits the development of PREP. Herein, we investigated different factors affecting powder formation during PREP by combining experimental methods and numerical simulations. The limitation of increasing the rotation electrode speed in decreasing powder size is attributed to the increased probability of adjacent droplets recombining and the decreased tendency of granulation. The effects of additional Ar/He gas flowing on the rotational electrode on powder formation is determined through the cooling effect, the disturbance effect, and the inclined effect of the residual electrode end face simultaneously. A smaller-sized powder was obtained in the He atmosphere owing to the larger inclined angle of the residual electrode end face compared to the Ar atmosphere. Our research highlights the route for the fabrication of smaller-sized powders using PREP.

플라즈마 회전 전극 공정(PREP)은 적층 제조 에서 중요한 분말 제조 방법으로 빠르게 자리잡고 있습니다. 그러나 미세한 PREP 분말의 낮은 생산율은 PREP의 개발을 제한합니다. 여기에서 우리는 실험 방법과 수치 시뮬레이션을 결합하여 PREP 동안 분말 형성에 영향을 미치는 다양한 요인을 조사했습니다. 분말 크기 감소에서 회전 전극 속도 증가의 한계는 인접한 액적 재결합 확률 증가 및 과립화 경향 감소에 기인합니다.. 회전 전극에 흐르는 추가 Ar/He 가스가 분말 형성에 미치는 영향은 냉각 효과, 외란 효과 및 잔류 전극 단면의 경사 효과를 통해 동시에 결정됩니다. He 분위기에서는 Ar 분위기에 비해 잔류 전극 단면의 경사각이 크기 때문에 더 작은 크기의 분말이 얻어졌다. 우리의 연구는 PREP를 사용하여 더 작은 크기의 분말을 제조하는 경로를 강조합니다.

Keywords

Plasma rotating electrode process

Ti-6Al-4 V alloy, Rotating speed, Numerical simulation, Gas flowing, Powder size

Introduction

With the development of additive manufacturing, there has been a significant increase in high-quality powder production demand [1,2]. The initial powder characteristics are closely related to the uniform powder spreading [3,4], packing density [5], and layer thickness observed during additive manufacturing [6], thus determining the mechanical properties of the additive manufactured parts [7,8]. Gas atomization (GA) [9–11], centrifugal atomization (CA) [12–15], and the plasma rotating electrode process (PREP) are three important powder fabrication methods.

Currently, GA is the dominant powder fabrication method used in additive manufacturing [16] for the fabrication of a wide range of alloys [11]. GA produces powders by impinging a liquid metal stream to droplets through a high-speed gas flow of nitrogen, argon, or helium. With relatively low energy consumption and a high fraction of fine powders, GA has become the most popular powder manufacturing technology for AM.

The entrapped gas pores are generally formed in the powder after solidification during GA, in which the molten metal is impacted by a high-speed atomization gas jet. In addition, satellites are formed in GA powder when fine particles adhere to partially molten particles.

The gas pores of GA powder result in porosity generation in the additive manufactured parts, which in turn deteriorates its mechanical properties because pores can become crack initiation sites [17]. In CA, a molten metal stream is poured directly onto an atomizer disc spinning at a high rotational speed. A thin film is formed on the surface of the disc, which breaks into small droplets due to the centrifugal force. Metal powder is obtained when these droplets solidify.

Compared with GA powder, CA powder exhibits higher sphericity, lower impurity content, fewer satellites, and narrower particle size distribution [12]. However, very high speed is required to obtain fine powder by CA. In PREP, the molten metal, melted using the plasma arc, is ejected from the rotating rod through centrifugal force. Compared with GA powder, PREP-produced powders also have higher sphericity and fewer pores and satellites [18].

For instance, PREP-fabricated Ti6Al-4 V alloy powder with a powder size below 150 μm exhibits lower porosity than gas-atomized powder [19], which decreases the porosity of additive manufactured parts. Furthermore, the process window during electron beam melting was broadened using PREP powder compared to GA powder in Inconel 718 alloy [20] owing to the higher sphericity of the PREP powder.

In summary, PREP powder exhibits many advantages and is highly recommended for powder-based additive manufacturing and direct energy deposition-type additive manufacturing. However, the low production rate of fine PREP powder limits the widespread application of PREP powder in additive manufacturing.

Although increasing the rotating speed is an effective method to decrease the powder size [21,22], the reduction in powder size becomes smaller with the increased rotating speed [23]. The occurrence of limiting effects has not been fully clarified yet.

Moreover, the powder size can be decreased by increasing the rotating electrode diameter [24]. However, these methods are quite demanding for the PREP equipment. For instance, it is costly to revise the PREP equipment to meet the demand of further increasing the rotating speed or electrode diameter.

Accordingly, more feasible methods should be developed to further decrease the PREP powder size. Another factor that influences powder formation is the melting rate [25]. It has been reported that increasing the melting rate decreases the powder size of Inconel 718 alloy [26].

In contrast, the powder size of SUS316 alloy was decreased by decreasing the plasma current within certain ranges. This was ascribed to the formation of larger-sized droplets from fluid strips with increased thickness and spatial density at higher plasma currents [27]. The powder size of NiTi alloy also decreases at lower melting rates [28]. Consequently, altering the melting rate, varied with the plasma current, is expected to regulate the PREP powder size.

Furthermore, gas flowing has a significant influence on powder formation [27,29–31]. On one hand, the disturbance effect of gas flowing promotes fluid granulation, which in turn contributes to the formation of smaller-sized powder [27]. On the other hand, the cooling effect of gas flowing facilitates the formation of large-sized powder due to increased viscosity and surface tension. However, there is a lack of systematic research on the effect of different gas flowing on powder formation during PREP.

Herein, the authors systematically studied the effects of rotating speed, electrode diameter, plasma current, and gas flowing on the formation of Ti-6Al-4 V alloy powder during PREP as additive manufactured Ti-6Al-4 V alloy exhibits great application potential [32]. Numerical simulations were conducted to explain why increasing the rotating speed is not effective in decreasing powder size when the rotation speed reaches a certain level. In addition, the different factors incited by the Ar/He gas flowing on powder formation were clarified.

Fig. 1. Schematic figure showing the PREP with additional gas flowing on the end face of electrode.
Fig. 1. Schematic figure showing the PREP with additional gas flowing on the end face of electrode.

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Fig. 9 (a) Velocity field, keyhole profile, and breakage of the keyhole to form bubble and (b) 2D temperature and velocity field along the longitudinal section

A Numerical Study on the Keyhole Formation During Laser Powder Bed Fusion Process

Keyhole에 대한 수치적 연구 : 레이저 분말 중 형성 베드 퓨전 공정

Subin Shrestha1
J.B. Speed School of Engineering,University of Louisville,Louisville, KY 40292
e-mail: subin.shrestha@louisville.edu

Y. Kevin Chou
J.B. Speed School of Engineering,University of Louisville,Louisville, KY 40292
e-mail: kevin.chou@louisville.edu

LPBF (Laser Powder Bed fusion) 공정 중 용융 풀의 동적 현상은 복잡하고 공정 매개 변수에 민감합니다. 에너지 밀도 입력이 특정 임계 값을 초과하면 키홀이라고 하는 거대한 증기 함몰이 형성 될 수 있습니다.

이 연구는 수치 분석을 통해 LPBF 과정에서 키홀 거동 및 관련 기공 형성을 이해하는 데 중점을 둡니다. 이를 위해 이산 분말 입자가 있는 열 유동 모델이 개발되었습니다.

이산 요소 방법 (DEM)에서 얻은 분말 분포는 계산 영역에 통합되어 FLOW-3D를 사용하는 3D 프로세스 물리학 모델을 개발합니다.

전도 모드 중 용융 풀 형성과 용융의 키홀 모드가 식별되고 설명되었습니다. 높은 에너지 밀도는 증기 기둥의 형성으로 이어지고 결과적으로 레이저 스캔 트랙 아래에 구멍이 생깁니다.

또한 다양한 레이저 출력과 스캔 속도로 인한 Keyhole 모양을 조사합니다. 수치 결과는 동일한 에너지 밀도에서도 레이저 출력이 증가함에 따라 Keyhole크기가 증가 함을 나타냅니다. Keyhole은 더 높은 출력에서 ​​안정되어 레이저 스캔 중 Keyhole 발생을 줄일 수 있습니다.

The dynamic phenomenon of a melt pool during the laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) process is complex and sensitive to process parameters. As the energy density input exceeds a certain threshold, a huge vapor depression may form, known as the keyhole. This study focuses on understanding the keyhole behavior and related pore formation during the LPBF process through numerical analysis. For this purpose, a thermo-fluid model with discrete powder particles is developed. The powder distribution, obtained from a discrete element method (DEM), is incorporated into the computational domain to develop a 3D process physics model using flow-3d. The melt pool formation during the conduction mode and the keyhole mode of melting has been discerned and explained. The high energy density leads to the formation of a vapor column and consequently pores under the laser scan track. Further, the keyhole shape resulted from different laser powers and scan speeds is investigated. The numerical results indicated that the keyhole size increases with the increase in the laser power even with the same energy density. The keyhole becomes stable at a higher power, which may reduce the occurrence of pores during laser scanning.

Keywords: additive manufacturing, keyhole, laser powder bed fusion, porosity

Fig. 1 (a) Powder added to the dispenser platform and (b) powder particles settled over build plate after the recoating process
Fig. 1 (a) Powder added to the dispenser platform and (b) powder particles settled over build plate after the recoating process
Fig. 2 3D computational domain used for single-track simulation
Fig. 2 3D computational domain used for single-track simulation
Fig. 3 Temperature-dependent material properties of Ti-6Al-4V
Fig. 3 Temperature-dependent material properties of Ti-6Al-4V
Fig. 4 Powder and substrate melting during laser application
Fig. 4 Powder and substrate melting during laser application
Fig. 5 Melt region formed after complete melting and solidification
Fig. 5 Melt region formed after complete melting and solidification
Fig. 6 Melt pool boundary comparison between the experiment [25] and the simulation
Fig. 6 Melt pool boundary comparison between the experiment [25] and the simulation
Fig. 7 Equilibrium points during the formation of vapor column [27]
Fig. 7 Equilibrium points during the formation of vapor column [27]
Fig. 8 Multiple reflection vectors from the keyhole wall
Fig. 8 Multiple reflection vectors from the keyhole wall
Fig. 9 (a) Velocity field, keyhole profile, and breakage of the keyhole to form bubble and (b) 2D temperature and velocity field along the longitudinal section
Fig. 9 (a) Velocity field, keyhole profile, and breakage of the keyhole to form bubble and (b) 2D temperature and velocity field along the longitudinal section
Fig. 10 Fluid flow in the transverse direction during keyhole melting
Fig. 10 Fluid flow in the transverse direction during keyhole melting
Fig. 11 Melt pool boundary compared with the experiment [21] for 195 W laser power and 400 mm/s scan speed
Fig. 11 Melt pool boundary compared with the experiment [21] for 195 W laser power and 400 mm/s scan speed
Fig. 12 Melt region formed after complete melting and solidification
Fig. 12 Melt region formed after complete melting and solidification
Fig. 13 2D images of the pores formed at the beginning of the single track and their 3D-rendered morphology
Fig. 13 2D images of the pores formed at the beginning of the single track and their 3D-rendered morphology
Fig. 14 Pore number and volume from a different level of power with LED = 0.4 J/mm [29]
Fig. 14 Pore number and volume from a different level of power with LED = 0.4 J/mm [29]
Fig. 15 Keyhole shape at different time steps from different parameters: (a) P = 100 W, v = 250 mm/s, (b) P = 200 W, v = 500 mm/s, (c) P = 300 W, v = 750 mm/s, and (d) P = 400 W, v = 1000 mm/s
Fig. 15 Keyhole shape at different time steps from different parameters: (a) P = 100 W, v = 250 mm/s, (b) P = 200 W, v = 500 mm/s, (c) P = 300 W, v = 750 mm/s, and (d) P = 400 W, v = 1000 mm/s
Fig. 16 Intensity dependence in the relationship between vapor column and evaporation pressure [27]
Fig. 16 Intensity dependence in the relationship between vapor column and evaporation pressure [27]
Fig. 17 Temperature distribution when laser has moved 0.8 mm with P = 300 W, v = 750 mm/s and P = 400 W, v = 1000 mm/s
Fig. 17 Temperature distribution when laser has moved 0.8 mm with P = 300 W, v = 750 mm/s and P = 400 W, v = 1000 mm/s
Fig. 18 Melt region with different level of power with LED of 0.4 J/mm
Fig. 18 Melt region with different level of power with LED of 0.4 J/mm

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Additive manufacturing

LPBF 시뮬레이션 순서

  • Powder settling
  • Powder spreading
  • Laser scan tracks on a powder bed

선택적 레이저 용해(Melting) : 단일 트랙 모델링

  • Power Bed spreading : 파우더 베드(Bed)압축의 파라메트릭 분석
    – 블레이드(Blade) 모션
    – 롤러(Roller) 속도와 방향

용융 풀(Melt pool) 모델링

  • 용융 풀의 진화(Evolution of the melt pool)
  • 시뮬레이션 및 실험적 단면(Cross-section) 검증

다층 SLM프로세스 : TU덴마크

추가 특성 – 고객 요청

  • 두 재료의 온도 의존성 재료 특성
  • 유체 영역과 고체 영역 사이의 접촉각 설정