SIM-AM 2023

High-fidelity Simulation of Laser Cladding Processes Using a Coupled DEM-SPH Approach

  • Lüthi, Christof (ETH Zürich)
  • Afrasiabi, Mohamadreza (inspire AG)
  • Bambach, Markus (ETH Zürich)

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Laser cladding, or direct metal/energy deposition, is a powder-based additive manufacturing (AM) process that involves the deposition of a material layer onto a substrate using a laser as a heat source. The material is melted and fused onto the substrate, building up a solid structure layer by layer. The concurrent deposition and fusion processes make laser cladding a useful technique for repairing of damaged parts or for surface coating applications. However, the high number of process parameters and fast-paced nature of the method pose challenges in mastering the process and designing new applications. Numerical simulations can help gaining insights into the underlying physics and ways to mitigate or avoid process-related defects. Meshfree techniques, most notably smoothed particle hydrodynamics, have proven highly efficient for simulating melt pool behavior at the scale of the powder in AM processes. Nonetheless, previous SPH simulation attempts of laser cladding have been mainly limited by computational efficiency or domain size limitations [1,2]. Due to stability concerns, meeting the requirements for small time steps becomes challenging when dealing with solid-solid contacts in SPH. To resolve these issues, we propose a new approach that combines SPH, a continuum approach for solving the thermo-fluid dynamics equations, with the discrete element method (DEM), which is well-suited for modeling granular mechanics. The present hybrid approach allows for efficient calculation of the complex dynamics in laser cladding, where solid-solid contacts of the injected powders are resolved on the aggregate grain scale. To further improve the computational efficiency of our method, we utilize a fully adaptive discretization strategy for the SPH domain.