Image based analysis on powder spreadability in powder bed additive manufacturing
Abstract: Additive manufacturing is an increasingly popular industry that has gained significant traction in the last decade. Today there exists no way to predict how a powder will spread in a powder bed additive manufacturing machine or how well it will form into thin layers. This is important because major costs can be saved by using a test that predicts the spreading behaviour of powder. This ability to be spread will be given the name spreadability. To test the spreadability of powder, a machine that mimicked the pushing of the powder in powder bed additive manufacturing was used. Since there exist no metric for spreadability, the study decided to attempt to quantify the spreadability with the help of image analysis. In the image analysis the area of the powders was measured, and through a comparison of the area against a bounding geometry, a measurement for spreadability can theoretically be attained. To further validate the results and simultaneously search for possible correlations, the experimental data was compared against flowability data obtained from angle of repose and Hall flowmeter. The results showed that the method of choice worked well for measuring the area and gave data that could be used to interpret spreadability. The data also showed what seems to be a correlation with the flowability data. While no definitive conclusions could bedrawn due to a small sample size, the collected data does seem promising for future work.
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