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Investigation of melt pool dynamics and solidification microstructures of laser melted Ti-6Al-4V powder using X-ray synchrotron imaging



Nicholas Derimow, Madelyn Madrigal-Camacho, Orion Kafka, Jake Benzing, Edward Garboczi, Samuel J. Clark, Suveen Mathaudhu, Nik Hrabe


Titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4V) is widely used in additive manufacturing (AM) industry. However, as laser powder-bed fusion (PBF-L) additive manufacturing (AM) advances towards reliable production of titanium parts, a thorough understanding of the process-structure-properties (PSP) relationships remain to be fully understood. A study of the laser melting was paired with high-speed X-ray synchrotron imaging at the 32-ID beamline of the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory. Simultaneous melting and imaging was carried out on a Ti-6Al-4V powder layer held in a custom device designed to mimic single-track scans of the PBF-L process at different laser power levels, powder size distributions, and cover gas environments (Ar and He) on top of AM Ti-6Al-4V base metal. It was found that the thickness of the powder layer significantly affected the melt behavior: too much powder led to the formation of molten droplets that wetted the surface of the titanium, yet did not contribute to a uniform melting profile. Residual gas pores in the atomized powder were also observed to contribute to the pores observed in the melt pool, with the porosity of the powder (defined as volume of pores divided by total material volume) constant with powder size distribution (i.e., larger particles contained more entrapped gas, which increased final part porosity). When varying Ar or He through the same gas flow meter settings and nozzle, the difference in flow rates likely contributed more to the resultant porosity of the solidified material than did the thermal conductivity of the gasses, with He being the greater contributor to porosity. The microstructure of the heat affected zone contained α', α, and an increased β phase fraction relative to the base material. The crystallographic texture of the melt pool region adopted that of the base metal.
Journal of Alloys and Metallurgical Systems


Additive Manufacturing, Ti-6Al-4V, X-ray synchrotron imaging, Solidification microstructure, Powder size distribution


Derimow, N. , Madrigal-Camacho, M. , Kafka, O. , Benzing, J. , Garboczi, E. , Clark, S. , Mathaudhu, S. and Hrabe, N. (2024), Investigation of melt pool dynamics and solidification microstructures of laser melted Ti-6Al-4V powder using X-ray synchrotron imaging, Journal of Alloys and Metallurgical Systems, [online],, (Accessed May 19, 2024)


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Created April 10, 2024, Updated April 13, 2024