Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) is a 3D printing technology that can print metal parts with complex geometries without the design constraints of traditional manufacturing routes. However, the parts printed by LPBF normally contain many more pores than those made by conventional methods, which severely deteriorates their properties. Here, by combining in-situ high-speed high-resolution synchrotron x-ray imaging experiments and multi-physics modeling, we unveil the dynamics and mechanisms of pore motion and elimination in the LPBF process. We find that the high thermocapillary force, induced by the high temperature gradient in the laser interaction region, can rapidly eliminate pores from the melt pool during the LPBF process. The thermocapillary force driven pore elimination mechanism revealed here may guide the development of 3D printing approaches to achieve pore-free 3D printing of metals.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/lianyi-chen/19/