Numerical Modelling of Powder-Bed Additive Layer Manufacturing Technologies

numerical modelling image 1The process of additive layer manufacture (ALM) consists of selective laser or electron beam melting of specific regions in a bed of metal powder to build a component sequentially from hundreds or thousands of horizontal layers.

Conventional ways of modelling ALM processes have failed to meet industrial demands due to the huge computational
effort required and the associated challenges with numerical
convergence. The MTC Simulation Group has addressed this limitation through an MTC Members’ Collaborative Research Project aimed at developing an innovative and robust, rapid predictive methodology for powder-bed ALM technologies. The methodology has been validated and applied to complex industrial components to predict distortion and residual stresses as well as give indications of crack initiation risks.

numerical modelling image 4The implementation of the developed methodology in the design of ALM is typically expected to:

  • reduce the number of physical prototypes by 50%;
  • decrease the lead time for design by 50%;
  • reduce the cost of manufacture by 25%.

The innovative part of the developed methodology lies in both the combination of analytical and numerical physically-meaningful analyses, as well as being able to scale the created solutions from the micro-scale to the macro-scale. A concept of using a specimen is introduced to accommodate the micro-to-macro scaling and calibrate
the analytical thermal model. This allows the mechanical solution to be numerically derived without the need for a micro-thermal analysis, which would otherwise be prohibitively lengthy.

Download the full case study to learn more about the key capabilities involved and the main applications of the new methodology.

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