The processes of laser cladding, deposition and surface alloying are increasingly used in modern manufacturing as surface enhancement, rapid manufacturing, tooling and repair processes. In the simplest terms, they are based on blowing a powder stream into a moving, laser-induced melt pool. Modelling of them is difficult as they are characterised by multiple phase changes and mass and heat flow patterns. This project will link the Laser Processing Research Centre at The University of Manchester, which is one of the largest laser groups in the UK with expertise in experimental investigation and analytical modelling of these processes, with ESI GmbH based in Germany, a commercial engineering simulation and software development group with headquarters in Paris, France and with expertise in many areas of numerical engineering and thermodynamic simulation. Its aim is to develop integrated software packages to simulate all stages of the processes, including powder conveyance, powder dispersion in the melt pool, melt pool dynamics and track formation and heat flow and stress formation in the substrate. The project is 4-years in length and involves close cooperation for selection of submodels (modelling methodology), coding, sub-models testing, selection of additional process investigations where necessary etc. Additional personnel to aid dialogue and exchange of ideas will be used at stages of the project. The developed models and software packages will aid the increasing number of users of these processes, especially the aerospace industries who demand tight control of them. The models proposed also represent academic advances in this field and can be further developed for microstructure simulation beyond this project.
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