Additive manufacturing (AM) – and laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) specifically – constructs geometry that would not be possible using standard manufacturing techniques. This geometric versatility allows integration of multiple components into a single part. While this practice can reduce weight and part count, there are also serious drawbacks. One is that the LPBF process can only build parts with a single material. This limitation generally results in over-designing some areas of the part to compensate for the compromise in material choice. Over-designing can lead to decreased functional efficiency, increased weight, etc. in LPBF parts. Methods to control the material composition spatially throughout a build would allow designers to experience the full benefits of functionality integration. Spatial composition control has been performed successfully in other AM processes – like directed energy deposition and material jetting – however, these processes are limited compared to LPBF in terms of material properties and can have inferior spatial resolution. This capability applied to the LPBF process would extend manufacturing abilities beyond what any of these AM processes can currently produce. A novel concept for spatial composition control – currently under development at Brigham Young University – utilizes liquid or liquid-encased dopants to selectively alter the composition of the powder bed, which is then fused with the substrate to form a solid part. This work is focused on evaluating the feasibility and usefulness of this novel composition control process. To do this, the present work evaluates two deposition methods that could be used; explores and maps the laser parameter process space for zirconia-doped SS 316L; and investigates the incorporation of zirconia dopant into SS 316L melt pools. In evaluating deposition methods, inkjet printing is recommended to be implemented as it performs better than direct write material extrusion in every assessed category. For the process space, the range of input parameters over which balling occurred expanded dramatically with the addition of zirconia dopant and shifted with changes in dopant input quantities. This suggests the need for composition-dependent adjustments to processing parameters in order to obtain desired properties in fused parts. Substantial amounts of dopant material were confirmed to be incorporated into the laser-fused melt tracks. Individual inclusions of 100 $nm$ particles distributed throughout the melt pool in SEM images. Howewver, EDX data shows that the majority of the incorporated dopant material is located around the edges of the melt pools. Variations of dopant deposition, drying, and laser scanning parameters should be studied to improve the resulting dopant incorporation and dispersion in single-track line scans. Area scans and multi-layer builds should also be performed to evaluate their effect on dopant content and dispersion in the fused region.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





additive manufacturing, AM, laser powder bed fusion, LPBF, direct metal laser melting, DMLM, spatial composition control, liquid doping, melt pool characteristics, process maps



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Engineering Commons