An integrated simulation framework consisting of the 3D finite element method and 3D cellular automaton method is presented for simulating the multi-track and multi-layer selective laser melting (SLM) process. The framework takes account of all the major multi-physics phenomena in the SLM process, including the initial grain structure, the growth kinetics, the laser scanning strategy, the laser–powder and laser–matter interactions, the melt flow, and the powder-to-liquid-to-solid transformations. The feasibility of the proposed framework is demonstrated by simulating the evolution of the epitaxy grain structure of Inconel 718 (IN718) during a 15-layer SLM process performed using a bi-directional 67◦ rotation scanning strategy and various SLM process parameters. The simulation results are found to be in good agreement with the experimental observations obtained in the present study and in the literature. In particular, a strong (001) texture is observed in the final component, which indicates that the grains with a preferred <001> orientation win the competitive epitaxy grain growth process. In addition, the size and shape of the IN718 grains are governed primarily by the cooling rate, where the cooling rate is determined in turn by the SLM parameters and the build height. Overall, the results show that the proposed framework provides an accurate approach for predicting the final microstructures of SLM components, and therefore, it can play an important role in optimizing the SLM processing parameters in such a way as to produce components with the desired mechanical properties.
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