Characterization of Heat-Affected Powder Generated during the Selective Laser Melting of 304L Stainless Steel Powder


The selective laser melting (SLM) process 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 and instabilities in the melt pool occur causing the formation of condensate and laser spatter, 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 304L heat-affected powder was performed through particle size distribution measurements, x-ray diffraction, metallography, energy-dispersive spectroscopy mapping, and visualization of grain structure with the aid of a focused-ion beam. The results show morphological, microstructural, and surface chemistry differences between the starting powder and heat-affected powder formed during processing which aid in the understanding of laser spatter and condensate that form in the SLM process.

Meeting Name

28th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium -- An Additive Manufacturing Conference, SFF 2017 (2017: Aug. 7--9, Austin, TX)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Additives; Austenitic stainless steel; Energy dispersive spectroscopy; Ion beams; Melting; Particle size; Particle size analysis; Reusability; Surface chemistry, 304L stainless steel; Energy inputs; Melt pool; Micro-structural; Particle size distribution measurement; Powder bed; Selective laser melting (SLM); Starting powders, Selective laser melting

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2017 The University of Texas at Austin, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2017