Thursday, January 7, 2021

URSP Student Nicholas Lanuzo Researches a Type of Additive Manufacturing Called Selective Laser Melting

My name is Nicholas Lanuzo and for my research I worked with Dr. Amiri to research modeling a type of additive manufacturing called Selective Laser Melting or SLM. The SLM process works by depositing a thin layer of metallic powder onto the work surface then, using a laser, a small portion of the powder is heated to extreme temperatures to melt it. The molten pool of metal, or melt pool, is rapidly cooled into a solid piece of metal. When metals are rapidly heated and cooled it causes residual internal thermal stresses, which is detrimental to the metals overall mechanical strength. My research currently consists of making a numerical simulation to model the laser heating the powder, as the physics behind this interaction are too complex to solve analytically. Once an accurate model has been created, the heating and cooling rate can be found which will be used analytically to find the internal stresses.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic my research is completely based on simulations and has no physical experimental data. The original plan was to use the SLM process to make a design and analyze its internal stresses and its transient temperature as it was being created. Then, the numerical simulation would be created to match this part. Because we can not go into the lab, we instead are basing our numerical model off of data from literature. Now, a typical day of research consists of making changes to the model and running it (which takes around 10 minutes) to see how it affects the overall temperature of the sample. The types of changes to the model can be altering the material properties of the powder, changing boundary conditions, or trying to refine the mesh for our simulation.