The objective of this Grant Opportunity for Academic Liaison with Industry (GOALI) Collaborative research project is to provide fundamental and experimentally-verified guidelines for integrated control of melt pool dimensions and microstructure in electron beam additive manufacturing, a class of emerging manufacturing processes which build geometric features by locally melting metal and building it up layer-by-layer. The research approach involves numerical modeling performed at the academic institutions in conjunction with electron beam deposition experiments performed by the industrial and government collaborators. Simulation results will be presented across a wide range of electron beam powers, travel speeds, material feed rates, and deposit geometries, and will guide the choice of critical experiments conducted by the industrial and government collaborators. Models and experiments will include the effects of local tailoring of temperatures in and around the melt pool by rapid movement of the electron beam across the part surface.
If successful, the benefits of this research will include not only a fundamental understanding of how electron beam process variables relate to final part quality, but also a practical basis for simultaneous control of melt pool geometry and microstructure. This will represent a significant contribution toward qualification of electron beam manufacturing processes for aerospace and other commercial applications. Research activities will be integrated with ongoing NSF-supported educational research projects at both academic institutions. Students performing research on this project will develop a combined manufacturing, solid mechanics, heat transfer and materials background that will make them highly valuable in industry and academics.