Date of Award

Spring 4-2018

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering


Shi-Chune Yao


The selective laser sintering (SLS) process or the additive manufacturing (AM) enables the construction of a three-dimensional object through melting and solidification of metal powder. The primary advantage of AM over the conventional process is providing the manufacturing flexibility, especially for highly complicated products. The quality of AM products depends upon various processing parameters such as laser power, laser scanning velocity, laser scanning pattern, layer thickness, and hatch spacing. The improper selection of these parameters would lead to parts with defects, severe distortion, and even cracking. I herein perform the numerical and experimental analysis to investigate the interplay between processing parameters and the defect generation. The analysis aims to resolve issues at two different scales, micro-scale and product-scale. At the micro-scale, while the numerical model is developed to investigate the interaction of the laser and materials in the AM process, its advantages and disadvantages compared to an analytical approach (Rosenthal’s equation), which provides a quicker thermal solution, are thoroughly studied. Additionally, numerical results have been verified by series of experiments. Based on the analysis, it is found that the simultaneous consideration of multiple processing parameters could be achieved using the energy density. Moreover, together with existing criteria, a processing window is numerically developed as a guideline for AM users to avoid common defects at this scale including the lack of fusion, balling effect, and over-melting. Thermal results at a micro-scale are extended as an input to determine the residual stress initiation in AM products. The effect of energy density and substrate temperature on a residual stress magnitude is explored. Results show that the stress magnitude within a layer is a strong function of the substrate temperature, where a higher substrate temperature results in a lower stress. Moreover, the stress formation due to a layer’s addition is studied, in which the stress relaxation at locations away from a top surface is observed. Nevertheless, even though the micro-scale analysis can resolve some common defects in AM, it is not capable of predicting product-scale responses such as residual stress development and entire product’s distortion. As a result, the multiscale modeling platform is developed for the numerical investigation at the product level. Three thermal models at various scales are interactively used to yield an effective thermal development calculation at a product-scale. In addition, the influence of the multiple layers, energy densities and scanning patterns on the residual stress formation has been addressed, which leads to the prediction of the residual stress development during the fabrication. The distortion of products due to the residual stress can be described by the product-scale model. Furthermore, among many processing parameters, the energy input and the scanning length are found to be important factors, which could be controlled to achieve the residual stress reduction in AM products. An optimal choice of a scanning length and energy input can reduce an as-built residual stress magnitude by almost half of typically encountered values. Ultimately, the present work aims to illustrate the integration of the computational method as tools to provide manufacturing qualification for part production by the AM process.

Available for download on Thursday, May 21, 2020