Researchers at Switzerland's Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) have become the first to use three-dimensional (3D) tomography to document the laser-based power bed fusion (LPBF) process of 3D printing at the microscopic level.
This involved rotating the sample during the manufacturing process and using a laser to track the rapid rotary movement.
Using PSI's GigaFRoST camera and a highly efficient microscope, the researchers captured 100 3D images per second during the printing process, showing what occurred as the laser traveled over aluminum oxide powder.
PSI's Malgorzata Makowska said, "For the first time, we were able to directly visualize the melted volume in 3D."
Among other things, the researchers observed that increasing the power of the laser caused the surface to flatten, rather than forming a depression as expected.
These observations could help determine how to produce the ideal microstructures for specific applications.
From Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland)
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