Additive Manufacturing Simulation of Thin-Walled Structures

This paper was produced for the 2019 NAFEMS World Congress in Quebec Canada

Resource Abstract

Additive manufacturing (AM) has shown the potential to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. AM promises to easily produce complex parts, which allows for increased efficiency, part consolidation, distributed production and many other benefits. However, adopters of the process quickly encounter a multitude of unique problems that can make it very time and resource intensive to successfully qualify a part for use. However, adopters of additive manufacturing quickly discover there are many difficulties that need to be overcome in order to use the technology to produce real parts. The difficulties include excessive distortion, cracking, porosity, and many uncertainties in the geometry and properties of the produced parts. These issues and uncertainties make it very difficult and costly to qualify parts for production and use. Simulation of the AM process can help identify issues that may occur during the build and allows designers to resolve these issues in the digital world. This reduces the need for repetitive and expensive trial and error and helps speed up qualification time.

The additive manufacturing process is often used to manufacture designs with many detailed features and thin walls. These features can often be the reason that a build will fail or that the part will be unusable after its completion. Additionally, the complex features can make it a challenge to properly simulate what happens to the part during the build. This work focuses on a unique issue that can occur in thin-walled parts where the thermal loading results in severe wavy distortion. This type of distortion is not observable during an actual build, which makes it difficult to troubleshoot the issue experimentally. With the proper setup, simulation can reproduce this distortion and guide design changes that lead to a successful part.

This work will explore how these thin wall distortions develop, how the distortion is affected by geometry, and what needs to be done to simulate the phenomenon. Simulation results will be compared against experiments, and general guidelines for the analysis of this issue will be presented. Many surprising and unexpected problems can arise during the additive manufacturing process, but simulation has proven to be a powerful tool to predict and resolve these issues.

Document Details

AuthorFrancis. Z
Date 18th June 2019
OrganisationANSYS Inc.


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