Characterization of Laser Spatter and Condensate Generated during the Selective Laser Melting of 304L Stainless Steel Powder


The selective laser melting process, commonly referred to as laser powder-bed fusion (L-PBF), is an Additive Manufacturing (AM) technique that uses a laser to fuse successive layers of powder into near fully dense components. Due to the large energy input from the laser during processing, vaporization causes instabilities in the melt pool leading to the formation of laser spatter and condensate, collectively known as heat-affected powder. Since heat-affected powder settles into the powder bed, the properties of the unconsolidated powder may be altered compromising its reusability. In this study, characterization of 304 L heat-affected powder was performed through particle size and shape distribution measurements, energy-dispersive spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, inert gas fusion, metallography, and x-ray diffraction. The results show morphological, chemical, and microstructural differences between the virgin powder and heat-affected powder formed during processing which aid in the understanding of laser spatter and condensate that form in the L-PBF process.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering


This work was funded by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies under Contract No. DE-NA0002839 with the U.S. Department of Energy.

Keywords and Phrases

Condensate; Laser Spatter; Powder Characterization; Selective Laser Melting

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

2214-7810; 2214-8604

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2020