Pore formation driven by particle impact in laser powder-blown directed energy deposition

Samantha Webster, Newell Moser, Kamel Fezzaa, Tao Sun, Kornel Ehmann, Edward Garboczi, Jian Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Process defects currently limit the use of metal additive manufacturing (AM) components in industries due to shorter fatigue life, potential for catastrophic failure, and lower strength. Conditions under which these defects form, and their mechanisms, are starting to be analyzed to improve reliability and structural integrity of these highly customized parts. We use in situ, high-speed X-ray imaging in conjunction with a high throughput laser, powder-blown directed energy deposition setup to observe powder particle impact behavior within the melt pool. Through fundamental observations of the stochastic, violent powder delivery in powder-blown DED, we uncover a unique pore formation mechanism. We find that a pore can form due to air-cushioning, where vapor from the carrier gas or environment is entrapped between the solid powder particle surface and liquid melt pool surface. A critical time constant is established for the mechanism, and X-ray computed tomography is used to further analyze and categorize the new type of “air-cushioning” pores. It is shown that the air-cushioning mechanism can occur under multiple laser processing conditions, and we show that air-cushioning pores are more likely to be formed when powder particles are larger than 70 μ m. By quantifying the effect of powder particle impact, we identify new avenues for development of high-quality laser, powder-blown DED products. Furthermore, we deepen knowledge on defect formation in metal additive manufacturing, which is being increasingly utilized in high performance situations such as aerospace, automotive, and biomedical industries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberpgad178
JournalPNAS Nexus
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023


  • additive manufacturing
  • in situ imaging
  • pore formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Pore formation driven by particle impact in laser powder-blown directed energy deposition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this