Contact rheological DEM model for visco-elastic powders during laser sintering

J. E. Alvarez*, A. H. Nijkamp, H. Cheng*, S. Luding, T. Weinhart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Laser sintering is a widely used process for producing complex shapes from particulate materials. However, understanding the complex interaction between the laser and particles is a challenge. This investigation provides new insights into the sintering process by simulating the laser source and the neck growth of particle pairs. First, a multi-physics discrete element method (DEM) framework is developed to incorporate temperature-dependent contact rheological and thermal properties, incorporating heat transfer and neck formation between the particles. Next, energy transport by ray tracing is added to allow for computing the amount of laser energy absorbed during sintering. The DEM model is calibrated and validated using experimental data on neck growth and temperature evolution of particle pairs made of polystyrene and Polyamide 12. The findings show that the proposed DEM model is capable of accurately simulate the neck growth during the laser sintering paving the way for better controlling and optimizing the process.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28
JournalGranular matter
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Laser beam absorption
  • Neck growth
  • Polymers
  • Sintering
  • Discrete element method


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