Metallic Additive Manufacturing (AdM) technologies (3D printing) is rapidly spreading to a variety of industrial applications. In recent years, advances in AdM have gradually transformed the way in which manufactured products are designed and produced. It enables easy manufacturing of complex shaped parts with high performance, less material waste and short development cycle. Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) is one of the processes in this growing field. This process can produce high performance parts by the injection of powders into a melt-pool created by a laser heat source. However, the LMD is complex and several defects may appear during the printing process. In this context, numerical simulation could be a helpful tool to describe the involved physical phenomena and then to predict the impact of process parameters on the material state. Such numerical tool can predict the heat exchanges and the fluid flow within the molten pool enabling defect prediction and process optimization. In this work, a multi-physics numerical model of the LMD process, at a mesoscopic scale, (i.e. at the layer thickness scale) is developed to predict thermal cycles during fabrication, as well as the complex relationships between part construction and operating parameters. For this purpose, the finite element code COMSOL Multiphysics is used. The developed model takes into account fluid flow and heat transfer in the different phases (gas, substrate and melt pool). As a key feature, the developed model simulates the growth of the track using the generation of droplets when the powder flow is intercepted by the laser beam. Material addition, interface tracking, and strong topological changes are handled using the level set technique. The numerical results are compared to the experimental results for validation purposes. This validation includes the comparison between the predicted molten pool cross-section and measurements from macrographs and high-speed videos.
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