Experiments and simulations on solidification microstructure for Inconel 718 in powder bed fusion electron beam additive manufacturing

G. L. Knapp, N. Raghavan, A. Plotkowski, T. DebRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Previous research on the powder bed fusion electron beam additive manufacturing of Inconel 718 has established a definite correlation between the processing conditions and the solidification microstructure of components. However, the direct role of physical phenomena such as fluid flow and vaporization on determining the solidification morphology have not been investigated quantitatively. Here we investigate the transient and spatial evolution of the fusion zone geometry, temperature gradients, and solidification growth rates during pulsed electron beam melting of the powder bed with a focus on the role of key physical phenomena. The effect of spot density during pulsing, which relates to the amount of heating of the build area during processing, on the columnar-to-equiaxed transition of the solidification structure was studied both experimentally and theoretically. Predictions and the evaluation of the role of heat transfer and fluid flow were established using existing solidification theories combined with transient, three-dimensional numerical heat transfer and fluid flow modeling. Metallurgical characteristics of the alloy's solidification are extracted from the transient temperature fields, and microstructure is predicted and validated using optical images and electron backscattered diffraction data from the experimental results. Simulations show that the pure liquid region solidified quickly, creating a large two-phase, mushy region that exists during the majority of solidification. While conductive heat transfer dominates in the mushy region, both the pool geometry and the solidification parameters are affected by convective heat transfer. Finally, increased spot density during processing is shown to increase the time of solidification, lowering temperature gradients and increasing the probability of equiaxed grain formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-521
Number of pages11
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
StatePublished - Jan 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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