Multiscale and Multiphysics Modeling of Additive Manufacturing of Advanced Materials


The objective of this proposed project is to research and develop a prediction tool for advanced additive manufacturing (AAM) processes for advanced materials and develop experimental methods to provide fundamental properties and establish validation data. Aircraft structures and engines demand materials that are stronger, useable at much higher temperatures, provide less acoustic transmission, and enable more aeroelastic tailoring than those currently used. Significant improvements in properties can only be achieved by processing the materials under nonequilibrium conditions, such as AAM processes. AAM processes encompass a class of processes that use a focused heat source to create a melt pool on a substrate. Examples include Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication and Direct Metal Deposition. These types of additive processes enable fabrication of parts directly from CAD drawings.

To achieve the desired material properties and geometries of the final structure, assessing the impact of process parameters and predicting optimized conditions with numerical modeling as an effective prediction tool is necessary. The targets for the processing are multiple and at different spatial scales, and the physical phenomena associated occur in multiphysics and multiscale.

In this project, the research work has been developed to model AAM processes in a multiscale and multiphysics approach. A macroscale model was developed to investigate the residual stresses and distortion in AAM processes. A sequentially coupled, thermomechanical, finite element model was developed and validated experimentally. The results showed the temperature distribution, residual stress, and deformation within the formed deposits and substrates.

A mesoscale model was developed to include heat transfer, phase change with mushy zone, incompressible free surface flow, solute redistribution, and surface tension. Because of excessive computing time needed, a parallel computing approach was also tested. In addition, after investigating various methods, a Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics Model (SPH Model) was developed to model wire feeding process. Its computational efficiency and simple architecture makes it more robust and flexible than other models. More research on material properties may be needed to realistically model the AAM processes.

A microscale model was developed to investigate heterogeneous nucleation, dendritic grain growth, epitaxial growth of columnar grains, columnar-to-equiaxed transition, grain transport in melt, and other properties. The orientations of the columnar grains were almost perpendicular to the laser motion’s direction. Compared to the similar studies in the literature, the multiple grain morphology modeling result is in the same order of magnitude as optical morphologies in the experiment.

Experimental work was conducted to validate different models. An infrared camera was incorporated as a process monitoring and validating tool to identify the solidus and mushy zones during deposition. The images were successfully processed to identify these regions. This research project has investigated multiscale and multiphysics of the complex AAM processes thus leading to advanced understanding of these processes. The project has also developed several modeling tools and experimental validation tools that will be very critical in the future of AAM process qualification and certification.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Keywords and Phrases

Additive; Electron beams; Heat sources; Manufacturing; Physical factors; Sound transmission

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Document Type

Report - Technical

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