Modeling and Experimental Validation of the Electron Beam Selective Melting Process

B. Zhou, F. Lin, W. Ma, W. Yan, Y. Qian, Y. Shen
additive manufacturing, Electron beam, Modeling, Powder scale

Electron beam selective melting (EBSM) is a promising additive manufacturing (AM) technology. The EBSM process consists of three major procedures: ① spreading a powder layer, ② preheating to slightly sinter the powder, and ③ selectively melting the powder bed. The highly transient multi-physics phenomena involved in these procedures pose a significant challenge for in situ experimental observation and measurement.

To advance the understanding of the physical mechanisms in each procedure, we leverage high-fidelity modeling and post-process experiments. The models resemble the actual fabrication procedures, including ① a powder-spreading model using the discrete element method (DEM), ② a phase field (PF) model of powder sintering (solid-state sintering), and ③ a powder-melting (liquid-state sintering) model using the finite volume method (FVM). Comprehensive insights into all the major procedures are provided, which have rarely been reported.

Preliminary simulation results (including powder particle packing within the powder bed, sintering neck formation between particles, and single-track defects) agree qualitatively with experiments, demonstrating the ability to understand the mechanisms and to guide the design and optimization of the experimental setup and manufacturing process.

Keywords: Modeling, Electron beam, Additive manufacturing, Powder scale.

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