Laser powder bed fusion in high-pressure atmospheres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Heriot Watt Univ

Abstract

High-speed imaging and schlieren imaging were used to investigate the interaction of the laser beam with the powder bed at pressures up to 5 bar, in argon and helium atmospheres. The entrainment of powder particles in the flow of shielding gas generated by the laser plume, and hence denudation, was reduced at high pressure for both gases. However, for argon, high pressure increased the temperature of both the melt pool and the laser plume, which significantly increased the generation of spatter and ionisation of the metal vapour with degraded surface smoothness and continuity. For helium, the formation of spatter and plasma did not increase with the increase in pressure above that observed at atmospheric pressure: its higher thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity limited the laser plume temperature. Layers built at 5 bar in helium had a surface smoothness and continuity comparable to those built in argon at atmospheric pressure, but achieved at a higher laser scan speed, suggesting that a high-pressure helium atmosphere may be used to enhance the build rate.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalThe International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • High-speed imaging, Laser powder bed fusion, High pressure atmosphere, Argon atmosphere, Helium atmosphere