Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of
Feedforward control of thermal history in laser powder bed fusion: Toward physics-based optimization of processing parameters
Date of this Version
Materials & Design 224 (2022) 111351. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matdes.2022.111351
We developed and applied a model-driven feedforward control approach to mitigate thermal-induced flaw formation in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing process. The key idea was to avert heat buildup in a LPBF part before it is printed by adapting process parameters layer-by-layer based on insights from a physics-based thermal simulation model. The motivation being to replace cumbersome empirical build-and-test parameter optimization with a physics-guided strategy. The approach consisted of three steps: prediction, analysis, and correction. First, the temperature distribution of a part was predicted rapidly using a graph theory-based computational thermal model. Second, the model-derived thermal trends were analyzed to isolate layers of potential heat buildup. Third, heat buildup in affected layers was corrected before printing by adjusting process parameters optimized through iterative simulations. The effectiveness of the approach was demonstrated experimentally on two separate build plates. In the first build plate, termed fixed processing, ten different nickel alloy 718 parts were produced under constant processing conditions. On a second identical build plate, called controlled processing, the laser power and dwell time for each part was adjusted before printing based on thermal simulations to avoid heat buildup. To validate the thermal model predictions, the surface temperature of each part was tracked with a calibrated infrared thermal camera. Post-process the parts were examined with non-destructive and destructive materials characterization techniques. Compared to fixed processing, parts produced under controlled processing showed superior geometric accuracy and resolution, finer grain size, increased microhardness, and reduced surface roughness.
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