Fundamentals of Polymer Crystallization in Laser Powder Bed Fusion for New Material Screening

Access full-text files



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Texas at Austin


Although laser powder bed fusion (PBF/LB) was one of the first industrially viable additive manufacturing (AM) methods for end-use part production, polyamides remain grossly dominant at both the commercial- and research scale. The research community continues to develop and refine “rapid screening” methods for evaluating the suitability of new polymers for PBF/LB. The so-called “SLS Process Window,” which is the difference between melting and crystallization temperature measured at 10 K min-1 as originally outlined in the patent literature, is perhaps the most often reported screening method. Although perhaps appropriate as part of a larger study, the simplistic guidelines put forth by the “SLS Process Window” are not sufficiently scientifically rigorous to understand how crystallization kinetics affects successful 3D printing. The common understanding of the SLS Process Window omits details from published theories of polymer crystallization. as evidenced by published assumptions and methods in PBF/LB process modeling papers. The authors explain polymer crystallization in the PBF/LB context and propose replacing the “process window” with crystallization halftime and physical gelation for new material screening. These measurements better represent behavior critical for ensuring a lengthy coexistence of solid powder and molten polymer affecting warp-free parts.


LCSH Subject Headings