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LLNL Explores Laser Beam Shaping to Improve Metal 3D Printing

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Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have found that exotic optical laser beam shapes known as Bessel beams have unique properties and reduce the likelihood of pore formation and keyholing, a porosity-inducing phenomenon exacerbated by the

Credit: Veronica Chen/LLNL

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) found that using Bessel beams reduced the likelihood of pore formation and "keyholing" in laser powder bed fusion, a high-power laser printing process.

The researchers determined that Bessel beams, exotic optical beam shapes similar to bullseye patterns, could overcome the challenges associated with laser-based three-dimensional (3D) printing of metal parts and serve as an alternative to traditional Gaussian beams.

Using the multiphysics code ALE3D developed by LLNL researchers, the team simulated the interaction of Gaussian and Bessel beam laser shapes with single tracks of metal powder material and noted better thermal gradients and microstructure formation with Bessel beams.

Said LLNL's Thej Tumkur Umanath, "Beam shaping is really the way to go because it can be applied to print a wide range of metals ubiquitously and be incorporated into commercial printing systems without posing significant integrability challenges as other alternate techniques tend to do."

From Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
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Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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