Investigating the Sensitivity of Particle Size Distribution on Part Geometry in Additive Manufacturing

V. Sagar, S. Lorin, J. Göhl, J. Quist, C. Cromvik, A. Mark, K Jareteg, F. Edelvik, K. Wärmefjord, R. Söderberg. ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, 18 November 2020.


Selective laser melting process is a powder bed fusion additive manufacturing process that finds applications in aerospace and medical industries for its ability to produce complex geometry parts. As the raw material used is in powder form, particle size distribution (PSD) is a significant characteristic that influences the build quality in turn affecting the functionality and aesthetics aspects of the end product. This paper investigates the effect of PSD on deformation for 316L stainless steel powder, where three coupled in-house simulation tools based on Discrete Element Method (DEM), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and Structural Mechanics are employed. DEM is used for simulating the powder distribution based on the different particle size distribution of the powder. The CFD is used as a virtual test bed to determine thermal parameters such as density, heat capacity and thermal conductivity of the powder bed viewed as a continuum. The values found as a stochastic function of the powder distribution is used to test the sensitivity of the melted zone and distortion using Structural Mechanics. Results showed significant influence of particle size distribution on the packing density, surface height, surface roughness, the stress state and displacement of the melted zone. The results will serve as a catalyst in developing geometry assurance strategies to minimize the effect of particle size distribution on the geometric quality of the printed part.


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