Keyhole porosity is a key concern in laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF), potentially impacting component fatigue life. However, some keyhole porosity formation mechanisms, e.g., keyhole fluctuation, collapse and bubble growth and shrinkage, remain unclear. Using synchrotron X-ray imaging we reveal keyhole and bubble behaviour, quantifying their formation dynamics. The findings support the hypotheses that: (i) keyhole porosity can initiate not only in unstable, but also in the transition keyhole regimes created by high laser power-velocity conditions, causing fast radial keyhole fluctuations (2.5–10 kHz); (ii) transition regime collapse tends to occur part way up the rear-wall; and (iii) immediately after keyhole collapse, bubbles undergo rapid growth due to pressure equilibration, then shrink due to metal-vapour condensation. Concurrent with condensation, hydrogen diffusion into the bubble slows the shrinkage and stabilises the bubble size. The keyhole fluctuation and bubble evolution mechanisms revealed here may guide the development of control systems for minimising porosity.
Bibliographical noteOpen Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)