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Implementation of a Particle Tracking Method to Study Particle Spreading in Powder Bed Fusion Systems



Eric Whitenton, Alkan Donmez, Aniruddha Das, Vipin Tondare, Justin Whiting


Additive manufacturing is a rapidly growing and increasingly important set of manufacturing techniques. One of those techniques, powder bed fusion, is often used when making metal parts. The part is built up by spreading a thin layer of metal powder, melting that layer, and repeating. However, how that powder flows as it is spread can affect the ultimate part quality. Powder flow characteristics during spreading are poorly understood. This paper describes an image-based powder particle tracking method to better understand the motions of the particles during the powder spreading process. It presents preliminary data obtained from two prototype powder spreading testbeds. Such measurements should ultimately enable the validation of physics-based models for powder spreading as well as an understanding of the effects of bulk powder characteristics on the spreading performance.
Advanced Manufacturing Series (NIST AMS) - 100-58
Report Number


Additive Manufacturing, Particle Tracking, Powder Bed Fusion, Spreadability, Spreading Testbed.


Whitenton, E. , Donmez, A. , Das, A. , Tondare, V. and Whiting, J. (2024), Implementation of a Particle Tracking Method to Study Particle Spreading in Powder Bed Fusion Systems, Advanced Manufacturing Series (NIST AMS), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed February 25, 2024)
Created February 8, 2024