A predictive model, based on a Cellular Automaton (CA) - Finite Element (FE) method, has been developed to simulate microstructure evolution during metal solidification for a laser based additive manufacturing process. The macroscopic FE calculation was designed to update the temperature field and simulate a high cooling rate. In the microscopic CA model, heterogeneous nucleation sites, preferential growth orientation and dendritic grain growth kinetics were simulated. The CA model was able to show the entrapment of neighboring cells and the relationship between undercooling and the grain growth rate. The model predicted the dendritic grain size, structure, and morphological evolution during the solidification phase of the deposition process. Model parameters for the simulations were based on stainless steel 316 (SS 316).

Meeting Name

24th Annual International Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium -- An Additive Manufacturing Conference (2013: Aug. 12-14, Austin, TX)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Second Department

Materials Science and Engineering


This work was funded through NASA’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program, FixedWing Project, under NRA NNX11AI73A.

Keywords and Phrases

3D Printers; Cellular Automata; Computer Simulation; Deposition; Grain Growth; Growth Kinetics; Manufacture; Microstructure; Solidification; Dendritic Grain Growth; Heterogeneous Nucleation; Laser-Based Additive Manufacturing; Micro-Structure Evolutions; Morphological Evolution; Preferential Growth Orientation; Probabilistic Simulation; Solidification Microstructures; Finite Element Method

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type




Publication Date

14 Aug 2013