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High-resolution Melt Pool Thermal Imaging for Metals Additive Manufacturing Using the Two-color Method with a Single Color Camera



Alexander Myers, Guadalupe Quirarte, Francis Ogoke, Brandon Lane, Syed Uddin, Amir Barati Farimani, Jack Beuth, Jonathan Malen


We introduce an experimental method to image melt pool temperature with a single commercial color camera and compare the results with multi-physics computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models. This approach leverages the principle of two-color (i.e., ratiometric) thermal imaging, which is advantageous because it negates the need for a priori knowledge of melt pool emissivity, plume transmissivity, and the camera's view factor. The color camera's ability to accurately measure temperature was validated with a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) blackbody source and tungsten filament lamp between temperatures of 1600 K and 2800 K. To demonstrate the technique, an off-axis high-speed color camera operating at 22 500 frames per second capturing a 2.8 mm × 2.8 mm area on the build plate was used to image both no-powder and powder single beads on a commercial laser powder bed fusion machine. Melt pool temperature fields for 316L stainless steel at varying processing conditions show peaks between 3300 K and 3700 K depending on the laser power and increased variability in the presence of powder. Measurements of nickel superalloy 718 and Ti-6Al-4V show comparable temperatures, with increased plume obstruction, especially in Ti-6Al-4V due to vaporization of aluminum. Multi-physics CFD models are used to simulate metal melt pools but some parameters such as the accommodation and Fresnel coefficients are not well characterized. Fitting a FLOW-3D® CFD model to ex-situ measurements of the melt pool cross-sectional geometry for 316L stainless steel identifies multiple combinations of Fresnel coefficient and accommodation coefficient that lead to geometric agreement. Only two of these combinations show agreement with the thermal images, motivating the need for thermal imaging as a means to advance validation of complex physics models. Our methodology can be applied to any color camera to better monitor and understand melt pools that yield high-quality parts.
Additive Manufacturing


Two-color method, Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), Melt pool temperature, Thermal imaging, FLOW-3D®, In-situ process monitoring


Myers, A. , Quirarte, G. , Ogoke, F. , Lane, B. , Uddin, S. , Barati Farimani, A. , Beuth, J. and Malen, J. (2023), High-resolution Melt Pool Thermal Imaging for Metals Additive Manufacturing Using the Two-color Method with a Single Color Camera, Additive Manufacturing, [online],, (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created July 5, 2023