Capturing additive manufacturing’s laser-matter interactions

Revealing additive manufacturing’s laser-matter interactions

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a fast-growing transformative technology enabling unprecedented design freedom for applications from aerospace to biomedical. However, adoption of metallic AM for critical applications is hindered by property variability, requiring significant advances in our fundamental understanding of the micro-second timescale laser-matter interactions.

This project adapts to the unique in situ and operando AM machines developed at UCL to capture the fundamental microscopic phenomena during laser AM (blown and powder bed) using ultrafast synchrotron real and reciprocal space imaging at ESRF, coupled to macroscopic neutron strain measurements at ILL. Key phenomena are captured, including powder flow and melting, solidification, residual stresses, phase transformations, and non-equilibrium microstructural feature formation. This enables knowledge-based accelerated insertion high-performance metal AM components, transforming aeroengine and joint replacement design.

The fully functioning AM machines have optical and infra-red cameras. Via machine learning these are correlated to the ground truth X-ray/neutron imaging, enabling development of real time control algorithms. The results also inform and validate multiscale predictive simulations performed at the industrial partner, helping to enable truly digital development of design to production components for aerospace and other applications.




Maureen Fitzpatrick is working on capturing additive manufacturing’s laser-matter interactions project. This project sees collaboration between the ESRF, ILL, Rolls Royce and the University College London.