Multiphysical Modeling and Simulation of Selective Laser Sintering

RishiResearchAdditiveManufacturing Research by:

Rishi Ganeriwala

Additive manufacturing refers to a relatively recent group of manufacturing technologies whereby one can “3D print” parts, which has the potential to significantly reduce waste and alter the entire industry. Selective laser sintering/ melting (SLS/ SLM) is one type of additive manufacturing technology with the distinct advantage of being able to 3D print metals. In SLS/ SLM parts are built up layer-by-layer out of powder particles, which are selectively melted via a laser. However, in order to produce defect free parts of sufficient strength, the process parameters (laser power, scan speed, layer thickness, etc.) must be carefully optimized. Obviously, these process parameters will vary depending on material, part geometry, and desired final part characteristics. Thus, the aim of this research is to produce a multiphysical, computational model of SLS/ SLM so that the process parameters can be quickly optimized without the need for running numerous costly, and energy intensive experiments. Click on the following links for videos of the simulation.


  1. Deposition and subsequent laser heating of a layer of metal, powder particles using the discrete element method (DEM). Each individual particle is assumed to be spherical in shape and to have a homogenous temperature.

  2. Single pass of a laser beam over a pre-deposited layer of steel powder particles. In this simulation DEM particles are placed on top of the solid, underneath substrate, which is modeled via the finite difference method (FDM). Particles colored red indicate that they have melted, and side view of the same simulation. Notice how part of the underneath substrate layer is also melted (in addition to the particles). This is desirable to ensure proper bonding between layers during the SLS/ SLM process.