Characterization of Feedstock in the Powder Bed Fusion Process: Sources of Variation in Particle Size Distribution and the Factors that Influence Them

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Whiting, J.
Fox, J.

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University of Texas at Austin


Substantial efforts have been placed on characterizing and modeling additive manufacturing processes. The wide scope of work already done has focused on the effects of process parameters such as laser power, hatch spacing, scan speed and strategy, and layer thickness on the final part’s properties. However, the characteristics of the actual powder should also be considered. The particles’ size, morphology, roughness, and chemical composition will affect the final part properties including surface texture, density, tensile strength, and hardness. This paper will share some of the measurement methods used at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to better understand metal powder for additive manufacturing. These include the striation/separation in transportation and handling, sampling procedures, and the actual spreading of powder in the laser powder bed fusion process. Results are presented that illustrate variations in the particle size distribution as a function of location on the build platform, substrate/part surface condition, and vertical position.


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