Recently, combined research was conducted, where the researchers from the Delft University of Technology, the University of Leicester, University College Dublin, Diamond Light Source, and TATA Steel Research UK worked together. Professor Hongbiao Dong from the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering headed the research. He showed ways to optimize additive manufacturing and arc welding at a relatively less price with more efficiency by exploring its internal flow behavior. The focus of the research was to examine the melt pools created during the welding process.
Key insights about the way research went
Firstly, the team injected tantalum particles and small tungsten into the melt pool. As the melting point was high, the particles remained solid. This continued for a long enough until they can be traced through intense beams of X-rays.
Researchers selected Beamline I12 as it specializes in high energy and high-speed imaging proficiency at thousands of frames per second. Whit this they were able to create high-speed movies presenting how surface tension changes the shape of the welding melt pool. It also showed its associated speed and patterns of flow. It is the first time when the melt flow behavior is related to the earlier studies, which was only seen through computer simulations.
The results implicated that arc welding can be optimized by controlling the flow of the melt pool. It is also related to the changes of the active elements on the surface.
The finding of this research will be helpful in optimizing the welding and additive manufacturing processes. This will help in making better components at improved properties and low cost. However, changes in the melt pools while welding and metal-based additive manufacturing is still a challenge say Prof Dong.