Elucidating the effect of preheating temperature on melt pool morphology variation in Inconel 718 laser powder bed fusion via simulation and experiment

Qian Chen, Yunhao Zhao, Seth Strayer, Yufan Zhao, Kenta Aoyagi, Yuichiro Koizumi, Akihiko Chiba, Wei Xiong, Albert C. To

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45 Citations (Scopus)


In laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) additive manufacturing, the mechanical performance, microstructure and defects of fabricated parts are closely associated with the melt pool morphology, e.g., its dimension and shape through the building process. Past studies have largely focused on how the process parameters such as laser power and scan speed affect melt pool characteristics. In this study, the melt pool morphology variation as a function of preheating temperature in the conduction, transition, and keyhole regimes and the underlying mechanisms in each regime are investigated through ex-situ sample characterization and computation thermal fluid dynamics (CtFD) simulation. Single tracks with different combinations of laser power and scan speed are deposited on an Inconel 718 bare plate preheated to a temperature range of 100–500 °C in the experiment. Significant changes are observed in melt pool morphology as a function of preheating temperature from optical measurements of melt track cross sections. The depth of melt pool in the three regimes increases monotonically with preheating temperature, e.g., at 500 °C, the experimental melt pool depth is increased by 49% in conduction regime, 34% in transition regime and 33% in keyhole regime, respectively, while the variation of melt pool width in each regime does not all follow an increasing trend but depends on the melt pool regimes. Melt pool width variation in the conduction and transition regimes is found to depend on the enhanced heat conduction directly related to temperature dependent thermal properties. Through validated CtFD simulations, it is found that in the keyhole regime the evaporation mass, recoil pressure, and laser drilling effect is enhanced with higher preheating temperature, which gives rise to a deeper melt pool. The simulations also reveal that preheating temperature significantly elongates the melt track length due to the increased flow rate and strong recoil pressure that accelerates the backward flow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101642
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan


  • Laser powder bed fusion
  • Melt pool variation
  • Preheating temperature
  • Recoil pressure
  • Vapor depression


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