Process-Structure-Property Relationship Study of Selective Laser Melting using Molecular Dynamics

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Selective Laser Melting (SLM), a laser-based Additive Manufacturing technique has appealed to the bio-medical, automotive, and aerospace industries due to its ability to fabricate geometrically complex parts with tailored properties and high-precision end-use products. The SLM processing parameters highly influence the part quality, microstructure, and mechanical properties. The process-structure-property relationship of the SLM process is not well-understood. In the process-structure study, a quasi-2D model of Micro-Selective Laser Melting process using molecular dynamics is developed to investigate the localized melting and solidification of a randomly-distributed Aluminum nano-powder bed. The rapid solidification in the meltpool reveals the cooling rate dependent homogeneous nucleation of equiaxed grains at the center of the meltpool. Long columnar grains that spread across three layers, equiaxed grains, nano-pores, twin boundaries, and stacking faults are observed in the final solidified nanostructure obtained after ten passes of the laser beam on three layers of Aluminum nano-powder particles. In the structure-property study, the mechanical deformation behavior of the complex cellular structures observed in the SLM-fabricated 316L Stainless Steel is investigated by performing a series of molecular dynamics simulations of uniaxial tension tests. The effects of compositional segregation of alloying elements, distribution of austenite and ferrite phases in the microstructure, subgranular cell sizes, and pre-existing (grown in) nano-twins on the tensile characteristics of the cellular structures are investigated. The highest yield strength is observed when the Nickel concentration in the cell boundary drops very low to form a ferritic phase in the cell boundary. Additionally, the subgranular cell size has an inverse relationship with mechanical strength, and the nano-twinned cells exhibit higher strength in comparison with twin-free cells.



Selective Laser Melting, Aluminum Nano-powder Particles, Molecular Dynamics, Stainless Steel 316L, Subgranular Cellular Structure, Mechanical Properties