The potential of in situ melt pool monitoring (MPM) for parameter development and furthering the process understanding in Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) of CuCr1Zr was investigated. Commercial MPM systems are currently being developed as a quality monitoring tool with the aim of detecting faulty parts already in the build process and, thus, reducing costs in LPBF. A detailed analysis of coupon specimens allowed two processing windows to be established for a suitably dense material at layer thicknesses of 30 µm and 50 µm, which were subsequently evaluated with two complex thermomechanical-fatigue (TMF) panels. Variations due to the location on the build platform were taken into account for the parameter development. Importantly, integrally averaged MPM intensities showed no direct correlation with total porosities, while the robustness of the melting process, impacted strongly by balling, affected the scattering of the MPM response and can thus be assessed. However, the MPM results, similar to material properties such as porosity, cannot be directly transferred from coupon specimens to components due to the influence of the local part geometry and heat transport on the build platform. Different MPM intensity ranges are obtained on cuboids and TMF panels despite similar LPBF parameters. Nonetheless, besides identifying LPBF parameter windows with a stable process, MPM allowed the successful detection of individual defects on the surface and in the bulk of the large demonstrators and appears to be a suitable tool for quality monitoring during fabrication and non-destructive evaluation of the LPBF process.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited