Selective laser melting (SLM) is one of the most effective methods of additive manufacturing (AM). It is used to manufacture products with very complex geometries using a wide range of materials. Practical process conditions are limited by the occurrence of undesirable melting instabilities that degrade the surface quality and lead to product defects. These disadvantages are related to the thermal limitations of the SLM process. The lower thermal limit is due to the need to completely melt the powder layer and partially remelt the underlying layer again to ensure proper bonding between the layers. Exceeding the upper thermal limit in the molten metal pool may cause extensive evaporation, boiling and ejection of molten metal droplets outside the melting area. The article presents an approach and methodology that enable the determination of thermal limits and the operating window of SLM/selective laser sintering (SLS) processes in a relatively simple way. The studies have been performed using various settings of SLM process parameters. The usefulness of the preliminary determination of thermal limitations and approximate prediction of operating window of SLM has been confirmed experimentally and by more accurate computer simulation.

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Engineering, Introductions and Overviews, other, Geosciences, Materials Sciences, Physics