A parallelized three-dimensional cellular automaton model for grain growth during additive manufacturing

Yanping Lian, Stephen Lin, Wentao Yan, Wing Kam Liu, Gregory J. Wagner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


In this paper, a parallelized 3D cellular automaton computational model is developed to predict grain morphology for solidification of metal during the additive manufacturing process. Solidification phenomena are characterized by highly localized events, such as the nucleation and growth of multiple grains. As a result, parallelization requires careful treatment of load balancing between processors as well as interprocess communication in order to maintain a high parallel efficiency. We give a detailed summary of the formulation of the model, as well as a description of the communication strategies implemented to ensure parallel efficiency. Scaling tests on a representative problem with about half a billion cells demonstrate parallel efficiency of more than 80% on 8 processors and around 50% on 64; loss of efficiency is attributable to load imbalance due to near-surface grain nucleation in this test problem. The model is further demonstrated through an additive manufacturing simulation with resulting grain structures showing reasonable agreement with those observed in experiments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)543-558
Number of pages16
JournalComputational Mechanics
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Cellular automaton
  • Grain structure
  • High performance computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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