SIM-AM 2023

Numerical Investigation of the Balling Defect in Laser Powder Bed Fusion

  • Zöller, Christopher (Technical University of Munich)
  • Adams, Nikolaus (Technical University of Munich)
  • Adami, Stefan (Technical University of Munich)

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A major issue that limits stable production of single melt tracks in laser-based powder bed fusion is melt pool balling. This metallurgical phenomenon occurs when continuous melt pools break up into agglomerates due to surface tension. Balling can lead to rough surface morphology, high porosity, and poor inter-layer bonding, which makes it highly undesirable in the production of dense parts. To address this problem, we have developed a numerical model based on the weakly compressible smoothed particle hydrodynamics method. The model can predict the melt pool morphology at processing parameter sets that are particularly susceptible to balling. The model takes into account several factors that are relevant to the balling defect, including capillary, Marangoni, recoil pressure, and wetting forces at the melt-gas and melt-gas-substrate interface. To gain a more detailed understanding of the influence of process parameters, we conducted several high-resolution single melt track simulations. Our numerical setup closely follows an experimental investigation into balling that was reported in the literature. The simulations results are in good agreement with the experimental data, and provide a detailed understanding of the influence of process parameters. This study represents a step toward improving the stability of single melt track production in laser-based powder bed fusion.