APPLICATIONS OF THERMO-CALC

Additive Manufacturing

Thermo-Calc can be used to simulate this highly non-equilibrium process and aid in the design of new alloys suited to additive manufacturing.

Applications to Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing of materials, is an innovative process with a lot of research going into the printability of metal alloys. During additive manufacturing of metals, extremely high cooling rates and thermal cycling in the build layer can lead to different material properties than traditional cast or wrought materials.

Thermo-Calc can be used to simulate this highly non-equilibrium process and aid in the design of new alloys suited to additive manufacturing.

Calculate the following as a function of material chemistry and temperature:

  • Thermophysical properties such as heat capacity, enthalpy, and density under non-equilibrium conditions arising from rapid cooling for input into finite element codes
  • Microsegregation during solidification
  • Precipitate evolution and growth during heating and cooling cycles
  • Selecting temperatures for optimal post-build heat treatments

Application Examples

Thermo-Calc has many applications to Additive Manufacturing. Below are two such examples.

Improving Finite Element Modeling with CALPHAD Data

The accuracy of finite element (FE) simulations depends in part on the material property data used by the code. For example, to predict the size, shape, and temperature of the laser melt pool, FE codes need the latent heat and heat capacity of the material. Handbooks are a common source of data, but these typically do not have temperature-dependent data for industrial alloys or data for novel materials. Temperature-dependent data can be calculated using Thermo-Calc for specific chemical compositions of interest.

These figures show a comparison of handbook values and CALPHAD calculated values of Cp (top) and ΔH (bottom) for a 316L Stainless Steel (recalculated from Smith et al. Comput. Mech. 2016).

Two plots showing a comparison of handbook values and CALPHAD calculated values of Cp (left) and ΔH (right) for a 316L Stainless Steel.

Predicting Optimal Post-build Heat Treatments

During precipitation heat treatment of additively manufactured 625 parts, the deleterious delta phase can precipitate faster than in wrought 625, leading to degradation of properties. Zhang et al (Acta Mater. 2018) have used Thermo-Calc and the Precipitation Module (TC-PRISMA) to predict the precipitation kinetics of the delta phase for nominal feedstock compositions, as well as the compositions measured at dendrite boundaries.

Both simulations, shown in the figures, predict that a stable MC carbide forms, followed by some gamma double prime (γ″). Delta (δ) phase then forms at the expense of the γ″. Because of segregation during solidification, γ″ and δ phase both precipitate much more quickly in the interdendritic region due to the increased Nb and Mo. Delta phase is predicted to start forming around 1 hour, compared with 10 hours for the wrought material. These calculations give insight to the reason why the conventional stress-relief heat treatment is not suitable, and can be used to identify a suitable heat treatment to both homogenize and stress relieve the part, while avoiding deleterious phases.

Two plots showing precipitation simulations using nominal IN625 powder compositions (left) and segregated compositions measured at the dendrite boundaries (right).

Learn More about Applications to Additive Manufacturing

Improving Metal Additive Manufacturing with Integrated Materials Modeling

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Application of finite element, phase-field, and CALPHAD-based methods to additive manufacturing of Ni-based superalloys

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Toward an integrated computational system for describing the additive manufacturing process for metallic materials

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