Heat transfer simulations of selective laser melting process based on volumetric heat source with powder size consideration

Hong Chuong Tran, Yu Lung Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Three-dimensional finite element heat transfer simulations with new volumetric heat source are performed to estimate the size of the melt pool cross-section during Selective Laser Melting (SLM). The simulations are based on a new volumetric heat source which takes into account the effect of the powder size distribution on the propagation of the laser energy through the depth of the metal powder layer. In modeling the volumetric heat source, a modified sequential addition method is used to construct the metal powder layer with different powder particle sizes and the absorptivity profile along the depth of the powder layer is then calculated by means of Monte Carlo ray-tracing simulations. It is shown that the peak melt pool temperature obtained in the present simulations (3005 K) is in better agreement with the experimental value than that obtained in previous simulation studies. Furthermore, the peak temperature is lower than the evaporation point of the powder particle layer, and is hence consistent with the stable melt track reported in experimental studies. To further confirm the validity of the proposed finite element heat transfer model, the simulation results obtained for the contact width between the melt pool and the substrate and the width of the powder-consumed band are compared with the experimental results and simulation findings presented in the literature. Finally, simulations are performed to predict the stability condition of a single scan melt track in the SLM process. The prediction results are shown to be consistent with the experimental findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-425
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Materials Processing Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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