Controlling melt flow by nanoparticles to eliminate surface wave induced surface fluctuation

Minglei Qu, Qilin Guo, Luis I. Escano, Jiandong Yuan, S. Mohammad H. Hojjatzadeh, Samuel J. Clark, Kamel Fezzaa, Tao Sun, Lianyi Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The high surface roughness is one of the major challenges encountered in laser metal additive manufacturing (AM) processes, which is closely related to the melt flow behavior. However, how to control the melt flow in laser metal AM processes to improve surface finish is not clear. Here we reveal the effects of nanoparticles on melt flow behavior at every location of melt pool during laser metal AM process for the first time using Al6061 + TiC nanoparticles system and achieve significant improvement of surface finish by using TiC nanoparticles to control the melt flow and damp the surface wave. Based on the in-situ x-ray imaging observation, the surface wave is fully damped after adding TiC nanoparticles, compared with only 56% damping without nanoparticles during LPBF of Al6061. Our in-depth in-situ x-ray imaging analysis and viscosity measurement enable us to identify that nanoparticle-induced increase of viscosity causes the fully damping of the surface wave by (1) increasing the internal fluid friction for more efficient wave amplitude reduction, (2) controlling the melt flow to increase the surface wave number, (3) controlling the melt flow to increase the wave damping time. Furthermore, we also quantified the relative contributions of increasing fluid friction, increasing wave number and increasing damping time to wave damping, which account for 61%, 25% and 14%, respectively. Our research provides the mechanisms and potential method to address the surface finish challenge in laser metal AM processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103081
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Laser powder bed fusion
  • Melt flow
  • Nanocomposites
  • Surface roughness
  • Synchrotron x-ray imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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