A cellular automaton finite volume method for microstructure evolution during additive manufacturing

Yanping Lian*, Zhengtao Gan, Cheng Yu, Dmitriy Kats, Wing Kam Liu, Gregory J. Wagner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


Additive manufacturing (AM) processes produce unique microstructures compared with other manufacturing processes because of the large thermal gradient, high solidification rate and other local temperature variations caused by the repeated heating and melting. However, the effect of these thermal profiles on the microstructure is not thoroughly understood. In this work, a 3D cellular automaton method is coupled to a finite volume method to predict the grain structure of an alloy, e.g. Inconel 718, fabricated by AM. The heat convection due to thermocapillary flow inside the melt pool is resolved by the finite volume method for a real and accurate temperature field, while an enriched grain nucleation scheme is implemented to capture epitaxial grain growth following the mechanism identified from experiments. Simulated microstructure results are shown to be in qualitative agreement with experimental result and the effects of the process parameters on both thermal characteristics and the grain structure are identified. The 3D cellular automaton finite volume method results establish our approach as a powerful technique to model grain evolution for AM and to address the process-structure-property relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107672
JournalMaterials and Design
StatePublished - May 5 2019


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Cellular automaton
  • Finite volume method
  • Grain structure
  • Solidification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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