Laser powder bed fusion in high-pressure atmospheres

Prveen Bidare*, Ioannis Bitharas, R. M. Ward, M. M. Attallah, Andrew J. Moore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)
105 Downloads (Pure)


High-speed imaging and schlieren imaging were used to investigate the interaction of the laser beam with the powder bed at pressures up to 5 bar, in argon and helium atmospheres. The entrainment of powder particles in the flow of shielding gas generated by the laser plume, and hence denudation, was reduced at high pressure for both gases. However, for argon, high pressure increased the temperature of both the melt pool and the laser plume, which significantly increased the generation of spatter and ionisation of the metal vapour with degraded surface smoothness and continuity. For helium, the formation of spatter and plasma did not increase with the increase in pressure above that observed at atmospheric pressure: its higher thermal conductivity and thermal diffusivity limited the laser plume temperature. Layers built at 5 bar in helium had a surface smoothness and continuity comparable to those built in argon at atmospheric pressure, but achieved at a higher laser scan speed, suggesting that a high-pressure helium atmosphere may be used to enhance the build rate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543–555
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number1-4
Early online date7 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Argon atmosphere
  • Helium atmosphere
  • High pressure atmosphere
  • High-speed imaging
  • Laser powder bed fusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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