Simulation-guided variable laser power design for melt pool depth control in directed energy deposition

Shuheng Liao, Samantha Webster, Dean Huang, Raymonde Council, Kornel Ehmann, Jian Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Melt pool control is essential in metal additive manufacturing processes since the melt pool geometry directly affects the geometric accuracy and material properties of the fabricated part. While online control of 2D melt pool size has been successfully achieved, controlling the melt pool depth, which cannot be directly monitored during the process, is still an outstanding issue. In this study, a simulation-guided process design framework is developed which enables the possibility of defining a time-series laser power profile that achieves a desired melt pool depth across an arbitrary geometry using just one simulation. This is accomplished by implementing a proportional-integral controller in a thermal finite element simulation that utilizes the laser power to control the melt pool depth. The resulting laser power profile from the simulation can then be used in a real deposition process. Example cases with uniform and site-specific melt pool depth control using the developed method are presented. The results show that melt pool depth can be successfully controlled within the simulation and the developed method can be used to design a laser power profile which can be implemented in an arbitrary part to enhance geometric accuracy and control material properties within a part.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102912
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Directed energy deposition
  • Laser power
  • Melt pool depth
  • Process design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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