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Visualization of the shielding gas flow in SLM machines by space-resolved thermal anemometry

: Schniedenharn, M.; Wiedemann, F.; Schleifenbaum, J.H.


Rapid Prototyping Journal 24 (2018), Nr.8, S.1296-1304
ISSN: 1355-2546
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer ILT ()

The purpose of this paper is to introduce an approach in measuring the shielding gas flow within laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) machines under near-process conditions (regarding oxygen content and shielding gas flow).
The measurements are made sequentially using a hot-wire anemometer. After a short introduction into the measurement technique, the system which places the measurement probe within the machine is described. Finally, the measured shielding gas flow of a commercial L-PBF machine is presented.
An approach to measure the shielding gas flow within SLM machines has been developed and successfully tested. The use of a thermal anemometer along with an automated probe-placement system enables the space-resolved measurement of the flow speed and its turbulence.
Research limitations/implications
The used single-normal (SN) hot-wire anemometer does not provide the flow vectors’ orientation. Using a probe with two or three hot-films and an improved placement system will provide more information about the flow and less disturbance to it.
A measurement system which allows the measurement of the shielding gas flow within commercial L-PBF machines is presented. This enables the correlation of the shielding gas flow with the resulting parts’ quality.