Simulation of metal additive manufacturing microstructures using kinetic Monte Carlo

T. M. Rodgers, J. D. Madison, V. Tikare, Computational Materials Science 135, 78–89 (2017).

Additive manufacturing (AM) is of tremendous interest given its ability to realize complex, nontraditional geometries in engineered structural materials. However, microstructures generated from AM processes can be equally, if not more, complex than their conventionally processed counterparts. While some microstructural features observed in AM may also occur in more traditional solidification processes, the introduction of spatially and temporally mobile heat sources can result in significant microstructural heterogeneity. While grain size and shape in metal AM structures are understood to be highly dependent on both local and global temperature profiles, the exact form of this relation is not well understood. Here, an idealized molten zone and temperature-dependent grain boundary mobility are implemented in a kinetic Monte Carlo model to predict three-dimensional grain structure in additively manufactured metals. To demonstrate the flexibility of the model, synthetic microstructures are generated under conditions mimicking relatively diverse experimental results present in the literature. Simulated microstructures are then qualitatively and quantitatively compared to their experimental complements and are shown to be in good agreement.

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