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Powder Bed Fusion

Additive Manufacturing Module

Model the Powder Bed Fusion process with this Add-on Module that has a unified treatment of process parameters and alloy dependent thermophysical properties.

About the Additive Manufacturing Module

The Additive Manufacturing Module is an Add-on Module in Thermo-Calc that is primarily designed for modeling the powder bed fusion process in Additive Manufacturing. 

Special focus has been to have a unified treatment of alloy dependent material properties and process parameters when solving the multiphysics problem of a moving heat source that melts and solidifies metal powder. The multiphysics simulation involves thermal conduction, fluid flow, evaporation-, radiation- and convective- heat loss. 

additive-manufacturing-module-keyhole-simulation-thermo-calc-2024b_02

A screenshot of the Additive Manufacturing Module showing the results of a steady state calculation for the material SS316L. A keyhole can be seen formed just below the location of the heat source.

The alloy dependent physical properties such as specific heat, density, thermal conductivity, viscosity, and surface tension of liquid are all calculated from evaporation temperature down to room temperature using the extended SCHEIL calculator and are automatically transferred for use in the Additive Manufacturing Module.

The module has 3 calculation types: Steady-State, Transient, and Transient with heat-source from Steady-State. Steady-State solves the stationary problem for the melt pool given the Process Parameters*. Transient and Transient with heat-source from Steady-State solves the time dependent problem for a single or multi-layer process for given Process Parameters*.

*Process Parameters that Can Be Changed for the Simulation

Scanning speed, layer thickness, scanning pattern, hatch spacing, powder fill time, heat source (including power, absorptivity and heat distribution), chamber pressure and base plate temperature

The Additive Manufacturing Module Allows You To Calculate

Evaluation of the following is possible depending on calculation type:

Steady-State

  • Size of melt pool
  • Peak temperature
  • Velocity of fluid flow
  • Property variations through the melt pool (temperature, viscosity, thermal conductivity, density) or any selected line
  • 2D Sectioning in any plane

Transient and Transient with Heat Source from Steady State

  • Temperature vs. Time response at selected position of the build and how this changes with Process Parameters
  • Time-dependence of the properties listed above under Steady-State
  • Connect the above Temperature vs. Time response with Diffusion Module and/or Precipitation Module

Printability Maps to Avoid Defects

The Additive Manufacturing Module offers several ways to visualize results, including Printability Maps, also known as Process Maps. Printability maps allow users to plot the likelihood of three possible defects that occur during additive manufacturing – keyholing, lack of fusion, and balling.

These defects occur based on the speed and power used during the AM process, so printability maps allow you to reduce the risks of these defects by showing the speed and power settings that are optimal (the white area in the image below), allowing you to calibrate your system to avoid these issues.

printability-map-of-material-316L-made-in-the-Additive-Manufacturing-Module-in-Thermo-Calc

A printability map calculated in the AM Module for the material 316L showing the power and scan speeds that are likely to result in keyholing (blue area) and lack of fusion (green area). The white area shows the power and scan speeds that are optimal to reduce the risk of these defects.

Compare Results to Experimental Data

The AM Module offers several calculation types, including a Batch Calculation that allows users to input power and scan speed data from a file, such as a spreadsheet. This calculation type also allows users to include experimental melt pool dimensions, if they have them, so that they can compare experimental results to calculated results. This is done using a plot type called a Parity Plot, as shown in the image below.

parity-plot-generated-in-the-Additive-Manufacturing-Module-in-Thermo-Calc-with-batch-calculation

A parity plot generated in the AM Module comparing calculated and experimental results of how power and scan speed affect melt pool dimensions. The AM Module allows users to input power and scan speed data and experimental results from a file and compare them to calculated results using the Batch Calculation type.

Easy Workflow

The Additive Manufacturing Module makes it easy to set up simulations related to the powder bed fusion process for additive manufacturing by offering an intuitive workflow and templates for setting up the simulations. The software also allows users to save their alloys directly in the calculator, so you can easily access them later, saving time and ensuring consistency in your work. The software ships with several common alloys used in additive manufacturing so users can begin making simulations immediately. 

Seamlessly Couples to Other Modules

The Additive Manufacturing Module seamlessly couples with both the Diffusion Module (DICTRA) and Precipitation Module (TC-PRISMA) so that the probe data generated from an AM calculation can be used as input for diffusion and precipitation calculations. Relevant add-on licenses are required for each calculator that is coupled.

Integrates with TC-Python

Most of the functionality in the Additive Manufacturing Module is also available in TC-Python, our Python-based API. This API allows users to easily perform simulations over a large range or process parameters and to produce printability maps for when defects like lack-of-fusion, keyholing, and balling will occur.

The actual integration needs to be programmed by the customer using Python.

Databases

For compatibility with the Additive Manufacturing Module, a database needs the following properties added in addition to the thermodynamics: surface tension for liquid, viscosity for liquid, thermal conductivity, molar volume, and a complete gas description.

The Additive Manufacturing Module is currently available with the following databases, starting with the version listed below:

  • Steel and Fe-alloys Database (TCFE13)
  • Nickel-based Superalloys Database (TCNI12)
  • Magnesium-based Alloys Database (TCMG6*)
  • Copper-based Alloys Database (TCCU6)
  • Titanium and TiAl-based Alloys Database (TCTI5*)
  • Noble Metal Alloys Database (TCNOBL3)
  • High Entropy Alloys Database (TCHEA6*)
  • Aluminum-based Alloys Database (TCAL9)
  • Solder Alloy Solutions Database (TCSLD5)
  • Molybdenum-based Alloys Database (TCMO1)
  • Niobium-based Alloys Database (TCNB1)

*Newer versions of the database are available that also work with the AM Module.

Register for our Upcoming Release Webinar

Thermo-Calc 2024b Release Overview

For the Thermo-Calc 2024b release, we are hosting a release webinar. This webinar will offer an overview presented by the developers who worked on the release. They will discuss the latest advancements, improvements, and additions to the software, providing detailed insights into what users can expect from this updated version.

The webinar will take place on 26 June 2024, 2:00 PM CEST/8:00 AM EDT.

Secure your spot today!

Getting Started Guide

Learn how to get started with calculations in the Additive Manufacturing Module in this Getting Started Guide. Users will learn how to set up a common workflow in the Additive Manufacturing Module, which involves calculations using the Steady-State and Transient with heat-source from steady-state simulation modes in the Graphical Mode of Thermo-Calc.

Webinar Recording

Demonstration of the New Additive Manufacturing Module

Learn about the Additive Manufacturing Module in this webinar recording, which gives an overview of the module, followed by a demonstration of how to: generate the materials data needed for the simulation, setup different calculation types, analyze results, and couple results to other modules. We also give a preview of the current development and have a Q&A session.

Availability

The Additive Manufacturing Module is available for purchase as an add-on to a Thermo-Calc license. In order to run the Additive Manufacturing Module, it is necessary to have a license for Thermo-Calc, a license for the Additive Manufacturing Module, and at least one thermodynamic and properties database listed above in the Databases section. If you are interested in purchasing a license for this Module, please contact us to discuss which license is right for you.

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