Molecular dynamics simulation of coalescence kinetics and neck growth in laser additive manufacturing of aluminum alloy nanoparticles

J Mol Model. 2020 May 9;26(6):125. doi: 10.1007/s00894-020-04395-4.


Laser additive manufacturing emerged as an advanced manufacturing process to fabricate components in a layered fashion by fusing the powder particles. This process is multifaceted and pivotal to understand the underlying physics of the coalescence of powder particles during the process, which impacts the structural and mechanical properties of the build component. In this study, a classical molecular dynamics (MD) model is developed for the coalescence of pre-alloyed aluminum alloy (AlSi10Mg) particles during the laser additive manufacturing process. The model is employed to investigate the neck growth and coalescence kinetics of different pairs of particle size with changing the laser energy density from 7 to 17 J/mm2. The simulation results reveal that the unevenly sized particles undergo complete coalescence as compared with even-sized particles, and the neck growth rate of AlSi10Mg particles increases with an increase in laser energy density. Based on the present investigation, it is established that the coalescence kinetics of the AlSi10Mg nanoparticles are governed by the surface and volume diffusion and the surface energy reduction during the joining of particles. This analysis will act as a guideline to design process parameters and quality control for the printing of new components.

Keywords: Coalescence; Laser additive manufacturing; Laser energy density; Molecular dynamics; Powder bed fusion.