Fig. 1. Protection matt over the scour pit.

Numerical study of the flow at a vertical pile with net-like scourprotection matt

그물형 세굴방지 매트를 사용한 수직말뚝의 유동에 대한 수치적 연구

Minxi Zhanga,b, Hanyan Zhaoc, Dongliang Zhao d, Shaolin Yuee, Huan Zhoue,Xudong Zhaoa
, Carlo Gualtierif, Guoliang Yua,b,∗
a SKLOE, School of Naval Architecture, Ocean & Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
b KLMIES, MOE, School of Naval Architecture, Ocean & Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China
c Guangdong Research Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower, Guangzhou 510610, China
d CCCC Second Harbor Engineering Co., Ltd., Wuhan 430040, China
e CCCC Road & Bridge Special Engineering Co., Ltd, Wuhan 430071, China
f Department of Structures for Engineering and Architecture, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Abstract

Local scour at a pile or pier in current or wave environments threats the safety of the upper structure all over the world. The application of a net-like matt as a scour protection cover at the pile or pier was proposed. The matt weakens and diffuses the flow in the local scour pit and thus reduces local scour while enhances sediment deposition. Numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the flow at the pile covered by the matt. The simulation results were used to optimize the thickness dt (2.6d95 ∼ 17.9d95) and opening size dn (7.7d95 ∼ 28.2d95) of the matt. It was found that the matt significantly reduced the local velocity and dissipated the vortex at the pile, substantially reduced the extent of local scour. The smaller the opening size of the matt, the more effective was the flow diffusion at the bed, and smaller bed shear stress was observed at the pile. For the flow conditions considered in this study, a matt with a relative thickness of T = 7.7 and relative opening size of S = 7.7 could be effective in scour protection.

조류 또는 파도 환경에서 파일이나 부두의 국지적인 세굴은 전 세계적으로 상부 구조물의 안전을 위협합니다. 파일이나 교각의 세굴 방지 덮개로 그물 모양의 매트를 적용하는 것이 제안되었습니다.

매트는 국부 세굴 구덩이의 흐름을 약화시키고 확산시켜 국부 세굴을 감소시키는 동시에 퇴적물 퇴적을 향상시킵니다. 매트로 덮인 파일의 흐름을 조사하기 위해 수치 시뮬레이션이 수행되었습니다.

시뮬레이션 결과는 매트의 두께 dt(2.6d95 ∼ 17.9d95)와 개구부 크기 dn(7.7d95 ∼ 28.2d95)을 최적화하는 데 사용되었습니다. 매트는 국부 속도를 크게 감소시키고 말뚝의 와류를 소멸시켜 국부 세굴 정도를 크게 감소시키는 것으로 나타났습니다.

매트의 개구부 크기가 작을수록 층에서의 흐름 확산이 더 효과적이었으며 파일에서 더 작은 층 전단 응력이 관찰되었습니다.

본 연구에서 고려한 유동 조건의 경우 상대 두께 T = 7.7, 상대 개구부 크기 S = 7.7을 갖는 매트가 세굴 방지에 효과적일 수 있습니다.

Keywords

Numerical simulation, Pile foundation, Local scour, Protective measure, Net-like matt

Fig. 1. Protection matt over the scour pit.
Fig. 1. Protection matt over the scour pit.
Fig. 2. Local scour pit of pile below the protection matt.
Fig. 2. Local scour pit of pile below the protection matt.

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Ultrafast laser ablation of tungsten carbide: Quantification of threshold range and interpretation of feature transition

Ultrafast laser ablation of tungsten carbide: Quantification of threshold range and interpretation of feature transition

텅스텐 카바이드의 초고속 레이저 제거: 임계값 범위의 정량화 및 특징 전환 해석

Xiong ZhangChunjin WangBenny C. F. CheungGaoyang MiChunming Wang
First published: 07 February 2024
https://doi.org/10.1111/jace.19718

Abstract

Tungsten carbide was manufactured by picosecond laser in this study. Shapes of the ablated craters evolved from parabolic-like (less than 10 pulses) to Gaussian-like (more than 500 pulses) as the pulse number increased. The shape changes were closely associated with the discontinuous diameter expansion of ablated crater. To explain these phenomena, two thresholds were identified: an upper threshold of 0.129 J/cm2 and a lower threshold of 0.099 J/cm2. When the laser energy exceeded the upper threshold, ablation occurred under the laser-energy-dominated mode. When the laser energy fell between the upper and lower thresholds, ablation occurred under the cumulative-effect-dominated mode. The transition of ablation mode contributed to the diameter expansion and shape change. In addition, elemental composition varied significantly at the ablated crater and heat-affected zone (HAZ), which were related to the degrees of reactions that occurred at different distances from the laser. Finally, surface hardness decreased from base material (32.52 GPa) to edge of crater (11.59 GPa) due to the escape of unpaired interstitial C atoms from the grain boundaries.

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Coupled CFD-DEM simulation of interfacial fluid–particle interaction during binder jet 3D printing

Coupled CFD-DEM simulation of interfacial fluid–particle interaction during binder jet 3D printing

바인더 제트 3D 프린팅 중 계면 유체-입자 상호 작용에 대한 CFD-DEM 결합 시뮬레이션

Joshua J. Wagner, C. Fred Higgs III

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cma.2024.116747

Abstract

The coupled dynamics of interfacial fluid phases and unconstrained solid particles during the binder jet 3D printing process govern the final quality and performance of the resulting components. The present work proposes a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and discrete element method (DEM) framework capable of simulating the complex interfacial fluid–particle interaction that occurs when binder microdroplets are deposited into a powder bed. The CFD solver uses a volume-of-fluid (VOF) method for capturing liquid–gas multifluid flows and relies on block-structured adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) to localize grid refinement around evolving fluid–fluid interfaces. The DEM module resolves six degrees of freedom particle motion and accounts for particle contact, cohesion, and rolling resistance. Fully-resolved CFD-DEM coupling is achieved through a fictitious domain immersed boundary (IB) approach. An improved method for enforcing three-phase contact lines with a VOF-IB extension technique is introduced. We present several simulations of binder jet primitive formation using realistic process parameters and material properties. The DEM particle systems are experimentally calibrated to reproduce the cohesion behavior of physical nickel alloy powder feedstocks. We demonstrate the proposed model’s ability to resolve the interdependent fluid and particle dynamics underlying the process by directly comparing simulated primitive granules with one-to-one experimental counterparts obtained from an in-house validation apparatus. This computational framework provides unprecedented insight into the fundamental mechanisms of binder jet 3D printing and presents a versatile new approach for process parameter optimization and defect mitigation that avoids the inherent challenges of experiments.

바인더 젯 3D 프린팅 공정 중 계면 유체 상과 구속되지 않은 고체 입자의 결합 역학이 결과 구성 요소의 최종 품질과 성능을 좌우합니다. 본 연구는 바인더 미세액적이 분말층에 증착될 때 발생하는 복잡한 계면 유체-입자 상호작용을 시뮬레이션할 수 있는 전산유체역학(CFD) 및 이산요소법(DEM) 프레임워크를 제안합니다.

CFD 솔버는 액체-가스 다중유체 흐름을 포착하기 위해 VOF(유체량) 방법을 사용하고 블록 구조 적응형 메쉬 세분화(AMR)를 사용하여 진화하는 유체-유체 인터페이스 주위의 그리드 세분화를 국지화합니다. DEM 모듈은 6개의 자유도 입자 운동을 해결하고 입자 접촉, 응집력 및 구름 저항을 설명합니다.

완전 분해된 CFD-DEM 결합은 가상 도메인 침지 경계(IB) 접근 방식을 통해 달성됩니다. VOF-IB 확장 기술을 사용하여 3상 접촉 라인을 강화하는 향상된 방법이 도입되었습니다. 현실적인 공정 매개변수와 재료 특성을 사용하여 바인더 제트 기본 형성에 대한 여러 시뮬레이션을 제시합니다.

DEM 입자 시스템은 물리적 니켈 합금 분말 공급원료의 응집 거동을 재현하기 위해 실험적으로 보정되었습니다. 우리는 시뮬레이션된 기본 과립과 내부 검증 장치에서 얻은 일대일 실험 대응물을 직접 비교하여 프로세스의 기본이 되는 상호 의존적인 유체 및 입자 역학을 해결하는 제안된 모델의 능력을 보여줍니다.

이 계산 프레임워크는 바인더 제트 3D 프린팅의 기본 메커니즘에 대한 전례 없는 통찰력을 제공하고 실험에 내재된 문제를 피하는 공정 매개변수 최적화 및 결함 완화를 위한 다용도의 새로운 접근 방식을 제시합니다.

Introduction

Binder jet 3D printing (BJ3DP) is a powder bed additive manufacturing (AM) technology capable of fabricating geometrically complex components from advanced engineering materials, such as metallic superalloys and ultra-high temperature ceramics [1], [2]. As illustrated in Fig. 1(a), the process is comprised of many repetitive print cycles, each contributing a new cross-sectional layer on top of a preceding one to form a 3D CAD-specified geometry. The feedstock material is first delivered from a hopper to a build plate and then spread into a thin layer by a counter-rotating roller. After powder spreading, a print head containing many individual inkjet nozzles traverses over the powder bed while precisely jetting binder microdroplets onto select regions of the spread layer. Following binder deposition, the build plate lowers by a specified layer thickness, leaving a thin void space at the top of the job box that the subsequent powder layer will occupy. This cycle repeats until the full geometries are formed layer by layer. Powder bed fusion (PBF) methods follow a similar procedure, except they instead use a laser or electron beam to selectively melt and fuse the powder material. Compared to PBF, binder jetting offers several distinct advantages, including faster build rates, enhanced scalability for large production volumes, reduced machine and operational costs, and a wider selection of suitable feedstock materials [2]. However, binder jetted parts generally possess inferior mechanical properties and reduced dimensional accuracy [3]. As a result, widescale adoption of BJ3DP to fabricate high-performance, mission-critical components, such as those common to the aerospace and defense sectors, is contingent on novel process improvements and innovations [4].

A major obstacle hindering the advancement of BJ3DP is our limited understanding of how various printing parameters and material properties collectively influence the underlying physical mechanisms of the process and their effect on the resulting components. To date, the vast majority of research efforts to uncover these relationships have relied mainly on experimental approaches [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17], [18], [19], which are often expensive and time-consuming and have inherent physical restrictions on what can be measured and observed. For these reasons, there is a rapidly growing interest in using computational models to circumvent the challenges of experimental investigations and facilitate a deeper understanding of the process’s fundamental phenomena. While significant progress has been made in developing and deploying numerical frameworks aimed at powder spreading [20], [21], [22], [23], [24], [25], [26], [27] and sintering [28], [29], [30], [31], [32], simulating the interfacial fluid–particle interaction (IFPI) in the binder deposition stage is still in its infancy. In their exhaustive review, Mostafaei et al. [2] point out the lack of computational models capable of resolving the coupled fluid and particle dynamics associated with binder jetting and suggest that the development of such tools is critical to further improving the process and enhancing the quality of its end-use components.

We define IFPI as a multiphase flow regime characterized by immiscible fluid phases separated by dynamic interfaces that intersect the surfaces of moving solid particles. As illustrated in Fig. 1(b), an elaborate IFPI occurs when a binder droplet impacts the powder bed in BJ3DP. The momentum transferred from the impacting droplet may cause powder compaction, cratering, and particle ejection. These ballistic disturbances can have deleterious effects on surface texture and lead to the formation of large void spaces inside the part [5], [13]. After impact, the droplet spreads laterally on the bed surface and vertically into the pore network, driven initially by inertial impact forces and then solely by capillary action [33]. Attractive capillary forces exerted on mutually wetted particles tend to draw them inward towards each other, forming a packed cluster of bound particles referred to as a primitive [34]. A single-drop primitive is the most fundamental building element of a BJ3DP part, and the interaction leading to its formation has important implications on the final part characteristics, such as its mechanical properties, resolution, and dimensional accuracy. Generally, binder droplets are deposited successively as the print head traverses over the powder bed. The traversal speed and jetting frequency are set such that consecutive droplets coalesce in the bed, creating a multi-drop primitive line instead of a single-drop primitive granule. The binder must be jetted with sufficient velocity to penetrate the powder bed deep enough to provide adequate interlayer binding; however, a higher impact velocity leads to more pronounced ballistic effects.

A computational framework equipped to simulate the interdependent fluid and particle dynamics in BJ3DP would allow for unprecedented observational and measurement capability at temporal and spatial resolutions not currently achievable by state-of-the-art imaging technology, namely synchrotron X-ray imaging [13], [14], [18], [19]. Unfortunately, BJ3DP presents significant numerical challenges that have slowed the development of suitable modeling frameworks; the most significant of which are as follows:

  • 1.Incorporating dynamic fluid–fluid interfaces with complex topological features remains a nontrivial task for standard mesh-based CFD codes. There are two broad categories encompassing the methods used to handle interfacial flows: interface tracking and interface capturing [35]. Interface capturing techniques, such as the popular volume-of-fluid (VOF) [36] and level-set methods [37], [38], are better suited for problems with interfaces that become heavily distorted or when coalescence and fragmentation occur frequently; however, they are less accurate in resolving surface tension and boundary layer effects compared to interface tracking methods like front-tracking [39], arbitrary Lagrangian–Eulerian [40], and space–time finite element formulations [41]. Since interfacial forces become increasingly dominant at decreasing length scales, inaccurate surface tension calculations can significantly deteriorate the fidelity of IFPI simulations involving <100 μm droplets and particles.
  • 2.Dynamic powder systems are often modeled using the discrete element method (DEM) introduced by Cundall and Strack [42]. For IFPI problems, a CFD-DEM coupling scheme is required to exchange information between the fluid and particle solvers. Fully-resolved CFD-DEM coupling suggests that the flow field around individual particle surfaces is resolved on the CFD mesh [43], [44]. In contrast, unresolved coupling volume averages the effect of the dispersed solid phase on the continuous fluid phases [45], [46], [47], [48]. Comparatively, the former is computationally expensive but provides detailed information about the IFPI in question and is more appropriate when contact line dynamics are significant. However, since the pore structure of a powder bed is convoluted and evolves with time, resolving such solid–fluid interfaces on a computational mesh presents similar challenges as fluid–fluid interfaces discussed in the previous point. Although various algorithms have been developed to deform unstructured meshes to accommodate moving solid surfaces (see Bazilevs et al. [49] for an overview of such methods), they can be prohibitively expensive when frequent topology changes require mesh regeneration rather than just modification through nodal displacement. The pore network in a powder bed undergoes many topology changes as particles come in and out of contact with each other, constantly closing and opening new flow channels. Non-body-conforming structured grid approaches that rely on immersed boundary (IB) methods to embed the particles in the flow field can be better suited for such cases [50]. Nevertheless, accurately representing these complex pore geometries on Cartesian grids requires extremely high mesh resolutions, which can impose significant computational costs.
  • 3.Capillary effects depend on the contact angle at solid–liquid–gas intersections. Since mesh nodes do not coincide with a particle surface when using an IB method on structured grids, imposing contact angle boundary conditions at three-phase contact lines is not straightforward.

While these issues also pertain to PBF process modeling, resolving particle motion is generally less crucial for analyzing melt pool dynamics compared to primitive formation in BJ3DP. Therefore, at present, the vast majority of computational process models of PBF assume static powder beds and avoid many of the complications described above, see, e.g., [51], [52], [53], [54], [55], [56], [57], [58], [59]. Li et al. [60] presented the first 2D fully-resolved CFD-DEM simulations of the interaction between the melt pool, powder particles, surrounding gas, and metal vapor in PBF. Following this work, Yu and Zhao [61], [62] published similar melt pool IFPI simulations in 3D; however, contact line dynamics and capillary forces were not considered. Compared to PBF, relatively little work has been published regarding the computational modeling of binder deposition in BJ3DP. Employing the open-source VOF code Gerris [63], Tan [33] first simulated droplet impact on a powder bed with appropriate binder jet parameters, namely droplet size and impact velocity. However, similar to most PBF melt pool simulations described in the current literature, the powder bed was fixed in place and not allowed to respond to the interacting fluid phases. Furthermore, a simple face-centered cubic packing of non-contacting, monosized particles was considered, which does not provide a realistic pore structure for AM powder beds. Building upon this approach, we presented a framework to simulate droplet impact on static powder beds with more practical particle size distributions and packing arrangements [64]. In a study similar to [33], [64], Deng et al. [65] used the VOF capability in Ansys Fluent to examine the lateral and vertical spreading of a binder droplet impacting a fixed bimodal powder bed with body-centered packing. Li et al. [66] also adopted Fluent to conduct 2D simulations of a 100 μm diameter droplet impacting substrates with spherical roughness patterns meant to represent the surface of a simplified powder bed with monosized particles. The commercial VOF-based software FLOW-3D offers an AM module centered on process modeling of various AM technologies, including BJ3DP. However, like the above studies, particle motion is still not considered in this codebase. Ur Rehman et al. [67] employed FLOW-3D to examine microdroplet impact on a fixed stainless steel powder bed. Using OpenFOAM, Erhard et al. [68] presented simulations of different droplet impact spacings and patterns on static sand particles.

Recently, Fuchs et al. [69] introduced an impressive multipurpose smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) framework capable of resolving IFPI in various AM methods, including both PBF and BJ3DP. In contrast to a combined CFD-DEM approach, this model relies entirely on SPH meshfree discretization of both the fluid and solid governing equations. The authors performed several prototype simulations demonstrating an 80 μm diameter droplet impacting an unconstrained powder bed at different speeds. While the powder bed responds to the hydrodynamic forces imparted by the impacting droplet, the particle motion is inconsistent with experimental time-resolved observations of the process [13]. Specifically, the ballistic effects, such as particle ejection and bed deformation, were drastically subdued, even in simulations using a droplet velocity ∼ 5× that of typical jetting conditions. This behavior could be caused by excessive damping in the inter-particle contact force computations within their SPH framework. Moreover, the wetted particles did not appear to be significantly influenced by the strong capillary forces exerted by the binder as no primitive agglomeration occurred. The authors mention that the objective of these simulations was to demonstrate their codebase’s broad capabilities and that some unrealistic process parameters were used to improve computational efficiency and stability, which could explain the deviations from experimental observations.

In the present paper, we develop a novel 3D CFD-DEM numerical framework for simulating fully-resolved IFPI during binder jetting with realistic material properties and process parameters. The CFD module is based on the VOF method for capturing binder–air interfaces. Surface tension effects are realized through the continuum surface force (CSF) method with height function calculations of interface curvature. Central to our fluid solver is a proprietary block-structured AMR library with hierarchical octree grid nesting to focus enhanced grid resolution near fluid–fluid interfaces. The GPU-accelerated DEM module considers six degrees of freedom particle motion and includes models based on Hertz-Mindlin contact, van der Waals cohesion, and viscoelastic rolling resistance. The CFD and DEM modules are coupled to achieve fully-resolved IFPI using an IB approach in which Lagrangian solid particles are mapped to the underlying Eulerian fluid mesh through a solid volume fraction field. An improved VOF-IB extension algorithm is introduced to enforce the contact angle at three-phase intersections. This provides robust capillary flow behavior and accurate computations of the fluid-induced forces and torques acting on individual wetted particles in densely packed powder beds.

We deploy our integrated codebase for direct numerical simulations of single-drop primitive formation with powder beds whose particle size distributions are generated from corresponding laboratory samples. These simulations use jetting parameters similar to those employed in current BJ3DP machines, fluid properties that match commonly used aqueous polymeric binders, and powder properties specific to nickel alloy feedstocks. The cohesion behavior of the DEM powder is calibrated based on the angle of repose of the laboratory powder systems. The resulting primitive granules are compared with those obtained from one-to-one experiments conducted using a dedicated in-house test apparatus. Finally, we demonstrate how the proposed framework can simulate more complex and realistic printing operations involving multi-drop primitive lines.

Section snippets

Mathematical description of interfacial fluid–particle interaction

This section briefly describes the governing equations of fluid and particle dynamics underlying the CFD and DEM solvers. Our unified framework follows an Eulerian–Lagrangian approach, wherein the Navier–Stokes equations of incompressible flow are discretized on an Eulerian grid to describe the motion of the binder liquid and surrounding gas, and the Newton–Euler equations account for the positions and orientations of the Lagrangian powder particles. The mathematical foundation for

CFD solver for incompressible flow with multifluid interfaces

This section details the numerical methodology used in our CFD module to solve the Navier–Stokes equations of incompressible flow. First, we introduce the VOF method for capturing the interfaces between the binder and air phases. This approach allows us to solve the fluid dynamics equations considering only a single continuum field with spatial and temporal variations in fluid properties. Next, we describe the time integration procedure using a fractional-step projection algorithm for

DEM solver for solid particle dynamics

This section covers the numerical procedure for tracking the motion of individual powder particles with DEM. The Newton–Euler equations (Eqs. (10), (11)) are ordinary differential equations (ODEs) for which many established numerical integrators are available. In general, the most challenging aspects of DEM involve processing particle collisions in a computationally efficient manner and dealing with small time step constraints that result from stiff materials, such as metallic AM powders. The

Unified CFD-DEM solver

The preceding sections have introduced the CFD and DEM solution algorithms separately. Here, we discuss the integrated CFD-DEM solution algorithm and related details.

Binder jet process modeling and validation experiments

In this section, we deploy our CFD-DEM framework to simulate the IFPI occurring during the binder droplet deposition stage of the BJ3DP process. The first simulations attempt to reproduce experimental single-drop primitive granules extracted from four nickel alloy powder samples with varying particle size distributions. The experiments are conducted with a dedicated in-house test apparatus that allows for the precision deposition of individual binder microdroplets into a powder bed sample. The

Conclusions

This paper introduces a coupled CFD-DEM framework capable of fully-resolved simulation of the interfacial fluid–particle interaction occurring in the binder jet 3D printing process. The interfacial flow of binder and surrounding air is captured with the VOF method and surface tension effects are incorporated using the CSF technique augmented by height function curvature calculations. Block-structured AMR is employed to provide localized grid refinement around the evolving liquid–gas interface.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Joshua J. Wagner: Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Investigation, Methodology, Software, Visualization, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing. C. Fred Higgs III: Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Resources, Supervision, Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing.

Declaration of competing interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Acknowledgments

This work was supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship, United States of America, Grant No. 80NSSC19K1171. Partial support was also provided through an AIAA Foundation Orville, USA and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award, USA . The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr. Craig Smith of NASA Glenn Research Center for the valuable input he provided on this project.

References (155)

The impacts of profile concavity on turbidite deposits: Insights from the submarine canyons on global continental margins

The impacts of profile concavity on turbidite deposits: Insights from the submarine canyons on global continental margins

프로필 오목부가 탁도 퇴적물에 미치는 영향: 전 세계 대륙 경계에 대한 해저 협곡의 통찰력

Kaiqi Yu a, Elda Miramontes bc, Matthieu J.B. Cartigny d, Yuping Yang a, Jingping Xu a
aDepartment of Ocean Science and Engineering, Southern University of Science and Technology, 1088 Xueyuan Rd., Shenzhen 518055, Guangdong, China
bMARUM-Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germanyc
Faculty of Geosciences, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany
dDepartment of Geography, Durham University, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

Received 10 August 2023, Revised 13 March 2024, Accepted 13 March 2024, Available online 17 March 2024, Version of Record 20 March 2024.

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Highlights

  • •The impact of submarine canyon concavity on turbidite deposition was assessed.
  • •Distribution of turbidite deposits varies with changes in canyon concavity.
  • •Three distinct deposition patterns were identified.
  • •The recognized deposition patterns align well with the observed turbidite deposits.

Abstract

Submarine canyons are primary conduits for turbidity currents transporting terrestrial sediments, nutrients, pollutants and organic carbon to the deep sea. The concavity in the longitudinal profile of these canyons (i.e. the downstream flattening rate along the profiles) influences the transport processes and results in variations in turbidite thickness, impacting the transfer and burial of particles. To better understand the controlling mechanisms of canyon concavity on the distribution of turbidite deposits, here we investigate the variation in sediment accumulation as a function of canyon concavity of 20 different modern submarine canyons, distributed on global continental margins. In order to effectively assess the isolated impact of the concavity of 20 different canyons, a series of two-dimensional, depth-resolved numerical simulations are conducted. Simulation results show that the highly concave profile (e.g. Surveyor and Horizon) tends to concentrate the turbidite deposits mainly at the slope break, while nearly straight profiles (e.g. Amazon and Congo) result in deposition focused at the canyon head. Moderately concave profiles with a smoother canyon floor (e.g. Norfolk-Washington and Mukluk) effectively facilitate the downstream transport of suspended sediments in turbidity currents. Furthermore, smooth and steep upper reaches of canyons commonly contribute to sediment bypass (i.e. Mukluk and Chirikof), while low slope angles lead to deposition at upper reaches (i.e. Bounty and Valencia). At lower reaches, the distribution of turbidite deposits is consistent with the occurrence of hydraulic jumps. Under the influence of different canyon concavities, three types of deposition patterns are inferred in this study, and verified by comparison with observed turbidite deposits on the modern or paleo-canyon floor. This study demonstrates a potential difference in sediment transport efficiency of submarine canyons with different concavities, which has potential consequences for sediment and organic carbon transport through submarine canyons.

Introduction

Submarine canyons are pivotal links in source-to-sink systems on continental margins (Sømme et al., 2009; Nyberg et al., 2018; Pope et al., 2022a, Pope et al., 2022b) that provide efficient pathways for moving prodigious volumes of terrestrial materials to the abyssal basin (Spychala et al., 2020; Heijnen et al., 2022). When turbidity currents, the main force that transports the above mentioned sediments (Xu et al., 2004; Xu, 2010; Talling et al., 2013; Stevenson et al., 2015), slow down after entering a flatter and/or wider stretch of the canyon downstream, the laden sediments settle, often rapidly, to form a deposit called turbidite that is known for organic carbon burial, hydrocarbon reserves and the accumulation of microplastics (Galy et al., 2007; Pohl et al., 2020a; Pope et al., 2022b; Pierdomenico et al., 2023). A set of flume experiments by Pohl et al. (2020b) revealed that the variation of bed slope plays a dominant role in controlling the sizes and locations of the deposit: a) a more gently dipping upper slope leads to upstream migration of upslope pinch-out; b) the increase of lower slope results in a decrease of the deposit thickness (Fig. 1a).

From upper continental slopes to deepwater basins, turbidity currents are commonly confined by submarine canyons that facilitate the longer distance transport of sediments (Eggenhuisen et al., 2022; Pope et al., 2022a; Wahab et al., 2022, Li et al., 2023a). The concavity, defined here as the downstream flattening rate of profiles (Covault et al., 2011; Chen et al., 2019; Seybold et al., 2021; Soutter et al., 2021a), of the longitudinal bed profile of the submarine canyons is therefore a key factor that determines hydrodynamic processes of turbidity currents, including the accumulation of sediments along the canyon thalweg (Covault et al., 2014; de Leeuw et al., 2016; Heerema et al., 2022; Heijnen et al., 2022). Due to the comprehensive impacts of sediment supply, grain size, climate change, regional tectonics, associated river and self-incision, the concavity of submarine canyons on global continental margins varies greatly (Parker et al., 1986; Harris and Whiteway, 2011; Casalbore et al., 2018; Nyberg et al., 2018; Soutter et al., 2021a, Li et al., 2023b), which is much more complex than the two constant slope setup of Pohl et al. (2020b)’s flume experiment (Fig. 1a). This raises the question of how the more complex concavity influences the dynamics of turbidity currents and the resultant distribution of turbidite deposits. For instance, the longitudinal profile concavity can also be increased by steepening the upper slope and/or gentling the lower slope of canyons (Fig. 1b). Parameters, known as significant factors influencing flow dynamics, include dip angle (Pohl et al., 2019), bed roughness (Baghalian and Ghodsian, 2020), obstacle presence (Howlett et al., 2019), and confinement conditions (Soutter et al., 2021b). However, the role of channel concavity in determining the downstream evolution of flow dynamics remains poorly understood (Covault et al., 2011; Georgiopoulou and Cartwright, 2013), and it is still unclear whether changes in concavity can result in different locations of pinch-out points and variations in turbidite deposit thicknesses (Pohl et al., 2020b).

In this study, we hypothesize that a more concave profile resulting from a steeper upper slope and a gentler lower slope may lead to a downstream migration of the upslope pinch-out and an increase of deposit thickness (Fig. 1b). This hypothesis is tested in 20 modern submarine canyons (shown in Fig. 2) whose longitudinal profiles are extracted from the GEBCO_2022 grid. Due to the lack of data describing the turbidite thickness trends in these canyons, we used a numerical model (FLOW-3D® software) to simulate the depositional process. The simulation results allow us to address at least two questions: (1) How does the concavity affect the distribution and thickness of turbidite deposits along the canyon thalwegs? (2) What is the impact of canyon concavity on the dynamics of the turbidity currents? Such answers on a global scale are undoubtedly helpful in understanding not only the sediment transport processes but also the efficient transfer and burial of organic carbon along global continental margins.

Section snippets

Submarine canyons used in this study

The longitudinal profiles of 20 modern submarine canyons are obtained using Global Mapper® from a public domain database GEBCO_2022 (doi:https://doi.org/10.5285/e0f0bb80-ab44-2739-e053-6c86abc0289c). The GEBCO_2022 grid provides elevation data, in meters, on a 15 arc-second interval grid. The 20 selected submarine canyons, which span the typical distance covered by turbidity currents, have been chosen from a diverse range of submarine canyon and channel systems that extend at least 250 km

Concavity of longitudinal canyon profiles

The NCI and α values of all 20 canyon profiles utilized in this study are plotted in Fig. 4, indicating the majority of these submarine canyons typically exhibit a concave profile, characterized by a negative NCI, except for the Amazon. In most of the profiles, the NCI is lower than −0.08, with the most concave point (indicated by the minimum ratio α) located closer to the canyon head than to the profile end, and their upper reaches are steeper than lower reaches, typically observed as the

Validation of the hypothesis

As previously mentioned in this paper, one of the primary objectives of this study is to evaluate the hypothesis inferred from the flume tank experiment of Pohl et al. (2020b): whether a more concave canyon profile can exert a comparable influence on turbidite deposits as the steepness of the lower and upper slopes in a slope-break system (Fig. 1). Shown as the modeling results, the deposition pattern of this study is more ‘irregular’ compared with the flume tank experiment (Pohl et al., 2020b

Conclusion

Based on global bathymetry, this study simulates the depositional behavior of turbidity currents flowing through the 20 different submarine canyons on the margins of open ocean and marginal sea. Influenced by the different concavities, the resulted deposition patterns are characterized by a variable distribution of turbidite deposits.

  • 1)The simulation results demonstrate that the accumulation of turbidite deposits is primarily observed in downstream regions near the slope break for highly concave

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Kaiqi Yu: Writing – review & editing, Writing – original draft, Validation, Software, Methodology, Investigation, Conceptualization. Elda Miramontes: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Conceptualization. Matthieu J.B. Cartigny: Writing – review & editing, Supervision. Yuping Yang: Software, Methodology. Jingping Xu: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Funding acquisition, Conceptualization.

Declaration of competing interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Acknowledgements

This study is supported by the Shenzhen Natural Science Foundation (JCYJ20210324105211031). Matthieu J. B. Cartigny was supported by Royal Society Research Fellowship (DHF/R1/180166). We thank the Chief Editor Zhongyuan Chen, the associate editor and two reviewers for their constructive comments that helped us improve our manuscript.

References (70)

There are more references available in the full text version of this article.

Figure 3. The simulated temperature distribution and single-layer multi-track isothermograms of LPBF Hastelloy X, located at the bottom of the powder bed, are presented for various laser energy densities. (a) depicts the single-point temperature distribution at the bottom of the powder bed, followed by the isothermograms corresponding to laser energy densities of (b) 31 J/mm3 , (c) 43 J/mm3 , (d) 53 J/mm3 , (e) 67 J/mm3 , and (f) 91 J/mm3 .

An integrated multiscale simulation guiding the processing optimisation for additively manufactured nickel-based superalloys

적층 가공된 니켈 기반 초합금의 가공 최적화를 안내하는 통합 멀티스케일 시뮬레이션

Xing He, Bing Yang, Decheng Kong, Kunjie Dai, Xiaoqing Ni, Zhanghua Chen
& Chaofang Dong

ABSTRACT

Microstructural defects in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) metallic materials are correlated with processing parameters. A multi-physics model and a crystal plasticity framework are employed to predict microstructure growth in molten pools and assess the impact of manufacturing defects on plastic damage parameters. Criteria for optimising the LPBF process are identified, addressing microstructural defects and tensile properties of LPBF Hastelloy X at various volumetric energy densities (VED). The results show that higher VED levels foster a specific Goss texture {110} <001>, with irregular lack of fusion defects significantly affecting plastic damage, especially near the material surface. A critical threshold emerges between manufacturing defects and grain sizes in plastic strain accumulation. The optimal processing window for superior Hastelloy X mechanical properties ranges from 43 to 53 J/mm3 . This work accelerates the development of superior strengthductility alloys via LPBF, streamlining the trial-and-error process and reducing associated costs.

Figure 3. The simulated temperature distribution and single-layer multi-track isothermograms of LPBF Hastelloy X, located at the bottom of the powder bed, are presented for various laser energy densities. (a) depicts the single-point temperature distribution at the bottom of the powder bed, followed by the isothermograms corresponding to laser energy densities of (b) 31 J/mm3 , (c) 43 J/mm3 , (d) 53 J/mm3 , (e) 67 J/mm3 , and (f) 91 J/mm3 .
Figure 3. The simulated temperature distribution and single-layer multi-track isothermograms of LPBF Hastelloy X, located at the bottom of the powder bed, are presented for various laser energy densities. (a) depicts the single-point temperature distribution at the bottom of the powder bed, followed by the isothermograms corresponding to laser energy densities of (b) 31 J/mm3 , (c) 43 J/mm3 , (d) 53 J/mm3 , (e) 67 J/mm3 , and (f) 91 J/mm3 .

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Figure 1. Experimental setup and materials. (a) Schematic of the DED process, where three types of base materials were adopted—B1 (IN718), B2 (IN625), and B3 (SS316L), and two types of powder materials were adopted—P1 (IN718) and P2 (SS316L). (b) In situ high-speed imaging of powder flow and the SEM images of IN718 and SS316L powder particle. (c) Powder size statistics, and (d) element composition of powder IN718 (P1) and SS316L (P2).

Printability disparities in heterogeneous materialcombinations via laser directed energy deposition:a comparative stud

Jinsheng Ning1,6, Lida Zhu1,6,∗, Shuhao Wang2, Zhichao Yang1, Peihua Xu1,Pengsheng Xue3, Hao Lu1, Miao Yu1, Yunhang Zhao1, Jiachen Li4, Susmita Bose5 and Amit Bandyopadhyay5,∗

Abstract

적층 제조는 바이메탈 및 다중 재료 구조의 제작 가능성을 제공합니다. 그러나 재료 호환성과 접착성은 부품의 성형성과 최종 품질에 직접적인 영향을 미칩니다. 적합한 프로세스를 기반으로 다양한 재료 조합의 기본 인쇄 가능성을 이해하는 것이 중요합니다.

여기에서는 두 가지 일반적이고 매력적인 재료 조합(니켈 및 철 기반 합금)의 인쇄 적성 차이가 레이저 지향 에너지 증착(DED)을 통해 거시적 및 미시적 수준에서 평가됩니다.

증착 프로세스는 현장 고속 이미징을 사용하여 캡처되었으며, 용융 풀 특징 및 트랙 형태의 차이점은 특정 프로세스 창 내에서 정량적으로 조사되었습니다. 더욱이, 다양한 재료 쌍으로 처리된 트랙과 블록의 미세 구조 다양성이 비교적 정교해졌고, 유익한 다중 물리 모델링을 통해 이종 재료 쌍 사이에 제시된 기계적 특성(미세 경도)의 불균일성이 합리화되었습니다.

재료 쌍의 서로 다른 열물리적 특성에 의해 유발된 용융 흐름의 차이와 응고 중 결과적인 요소 혼합 및 국부적인 재합금은 재료 조합 간의 인쇄 적성에 나타난 차이점을 지배합니다.

이 작업은 서로 다른 재료의 증착에서 현상학적 차이에 대한 심층적인 이해를 제공하고 바이메탈 부품의 보다 안정적인 DED 성형을 안내하는 것을 목표로 합니다.

Additive manufacturing provides achievability for the fabrication of bimetallic and
multi-material structures; however, the material compatibility and bondability directly affect the
parts’ formability and final quality. It is essential to understand the underlying printability of
different material combinations based on an adapted process. Here, the printability disparities of
two common and attractive material combinations (nickel- and iron-based alloys) are evaluated
at the macro and micro levels via laser directed energy deposition (DED). The deposition
processes were captured using in situ high-speed imaging, and the dissimilarities in melt pool
features and track morphology were quantitatively investigated within specific process
windows. Moreover, the microstructure diversity of the tracks and blocks processed with varied
material pairs was comparatively elaborated and, complemented with the informative
multi-physics modeling, the presented non-uniformity in mechanical properties (microhardness)
among the heterogeneous material pairs was rationalized. The differences in melt flow induced
by the unlike thermophysical properties of the material pairs and the resulting element
intermixing and localized re-alloying during solidification dominate the presented dissimilarity
in printability among the material combinations. This work provides an in-depth understanding
of the phenomenological differences in the deposition of dissimilar materials and aims to guide
more reliable DED forming of bimetallic parts.

Figure 1. Experimental setup and materials. (a) Schematic of the DED process, where three types of base materials were adopted—B1
(IN718), B2 (IN625), and B3 (SS316L), and two types of powder materials were adopted—P1 (IN718) and P2 (SS316L). (b) In situ
high-speed imaging of powder flow and the SEM images of IN718 and SS316L powder particle. (c) Powder size statistics, and (d) element
composition of powder IN718 (P1) and SS316L (P2).
Figure 1. Experimental setup and materials. (a) Schematic of the DED process, where three types of base materials were adopted—B1 (IN718), B2 (IN625), and B3 (SS316L), and two types of powder materials were adopted—P1 (IN718) and P2 (SS316L). (b) In situ high-speed imaging of powder flow and the SEM images of IN718 and SS316L powder particle. (c) Powder size statistics, and (d) element composition of powder IN718 (P1) and SS316L (P2).
Figure 2. Deposition process and the track morphology. (a)–(c) Display the in situ captured tableaux of melt propagation and some physical
features during depositing for P1B1, P1B2, and P1B3, respectively. (d) The profiles of the melt pool at a frame of (t0 + 1) ms, and the flow
streamlines in the molten pool of each case. (e) The outer surface of the formed tracks, in which the colored arrows mark the scanning
direction. (f) Cross-section of the tracks. The parameter set used for in situ imaging was P-1000 W, S-600 mm·min–1, F-18 g·min–1. All the
scale bars are 2 mm.
Figure 2. Deposition process and the track morphology. (a)–(c) Display the in situ captured tableaux of melt propagation and some physical features during depositing for P1B1, P1B2, and P1B3, respectively. (d) The profiles of the melt pool at a frame of (t0 + 1) ms, and the flow streamlines in the molten pool of each case. (e) The outer surface of the formed tracks, in which the colored arrows mark the scanning direction. (f) Cross-section of the tracks. The parameter set used for in situ imaging was P-1000 W, S-600 mm·min–1, F-18 g·min–1. All the scale bars are 2 mm.

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Fig. 3. (a–c) Snapshots of the CtFD simulation of laser-beam irradiation: (a) Top, (b) longitudinal vertical cross-sectional, and (c) transversal vertical cross-sectional views. (d) z-position of the solid/liquid interface during melting and solidification.

Solute segregation in a rapidly solidified Hastelloy-X Ni-based superalloy during laser powder bed fusion investigated by phase-field simulations and computational thermal-fluid dynamics

Masayuki Okugawa ab, Kenji Saito a, Haruki Yoshima a, Katsuhiko Sawaizumi a, Sukeharu Nomoto c, Makoto Watanabe c, Takayoshi Nakano ab, Yuichiro Koizumi abShow moreAdd to MendeleyShareCite

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.addma.2024.104079

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Abstract

Solute segregation significantly affects material properties and is a critical issue in the laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) additive manufacturing (AM) of Ni-based superalloys. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate a computational thermal-fluid dynamics (CtFD) simulation coupled multi-phase-field (MPF) simulation with a multicomponent-composition model of Ni-based superalloy to predict solute segregation under solidification conditions in LPBF. The MPF simulation of the Hastelloy-X superalloy reproduced the experimentally observed submicron-sized cell structure. Significant solute segregations were formed within interdendritic regions during solidification at high cooling rates of up to 10K s-1, a characteristic feature of LPBF. Solute segregation caused a decrease in the solidus temperature (TS), with a reduction of up to 30.4 K, which increases the risk of liquation cracks during LPBF. In addition, the segregation triggers the formation of carbide phases, which increases the susceptibility to ductility dip cracking. Conversely, we found that the decrease in TS is suppressed at the melt-pool boundary regions, where re-remelting occurs during the stacking of the layer above. Controlling the re-remelting behavior is deemed to be crucial for designing crack-free alloys. Thus, we demonstrated that solute segregation at the various interfacial regions of Ni-based multicomponent alloys can be predicted by the conventional MPF simulation. The design of crack-free Ni-based superalloys can be expedited by MPF simulations of a broad range of element combinations and their concentrations in multicomponent Ni-based superalloys.

Graphical abstract

Keywords

Laser powder-bed fusion, Hastelloy-X Nickel-based superalloy, solute element segregation, computational thermal-fluid dynamics simulation, phase-field method

1. Introduction

Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies have attracted considerable attention as they allow us to easily build three-dimensional (3D) parts with complex geometries. Among the wide range of available AM techniques, laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) has emerged as a preferred technique for metal AM [1][2][3][4][5]. In LPBF, metal products are built layer-by-layer by scanning laser, which fuse metal powder particles into bulk solids.

Significant attempts have been made to integrate LPBF techniques within the aerospace industry, with a particular focus on weldable Ni-based superalloys, such as IN718 [6][7][8], IN625 [9][10], and Hastelloy-X (HX) [11][12][13][14]. Non-weldable alloys, such as IN738LC [15][16] and CMSX-4 [1][17] are also suitable for their sufficient creep resistance under higher temperature conditions. However, non-weldable alloys are difficult to build using LPBF because of their susceptibility to cracking during the process. In general, a macro solute-segregation during solidification is suppressed by the rapid cooling conditions (up to 108 K s-1) unique to the LPBF process [18]. However, the solute segregation still occurs in the interdendritic regions that are smaller than the micrometer scale [5][19][20][21]; these regions are suggested to be related to the hot cracks in LPBF-fabricated parts. Therefore, an understanding of solute segregation is essential for the fabrication of reliable LPBF-fabricated parts while avoiding cracks.

The multiphase-field (MPF) method has gained popularity for modeling the microstructure evolution and solute segregation under rapid cooling conditions [5][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28]. Moreover, quantifiable predictions have been achieved by combining the MPF method with temperature distribution analysis methods such as the finite-element method (FEM) [20] and computational thermal-fluid dynamics (CtFD) simulations [28]. These aforementioned studies have used binary-approximated multicomponent systems, such as Ni–Nb binary alloys, to simulate IN718 alloys. While MPF simulations using binary alloy systems can effectively reproduce microstructure formations and segregation behaviors, the binary approximation might be affected by the chemical interactions between the removed solute elements in the target multicomponent alloy. The limit of absolute stability predicted by the Mullins-Sekerka theory [29] is also crucial because the limit velocity is close to the solidification rate in the LPBF process and is different in multicomponent and binary-approximated systems. The difference between the solidus and liquidus temperatures, ΔT0, directly determines the absolute stability according to the Mullins-Sekerka theory. For example, the ΔT0 values of IN718 and its binary-approximated Ni–5 wt.%Nb alloy are 134 K [28] and 71 K [30], respectively. The solidification rate compared to the limit of absolute stability, i.e., the relative non-equilibrium of solidification, changes by simplification of the system. It is therefore important to use the composition of the actual multicomponent system in such simulations. However, to the best of our knowledge, there is no MPF simulation using a multicomponent model coupled with a temperature analysis simulation to predict solute segregation in a Ni-based superalloy.

In this study, we demonstrate that the conventional MPF model can reproduce experimentally observed dendritic structures by performing a phase-field simulation using the temperature distribution obtained by a CtFD simulation of a multicomponent Ni-based alloy (conventional solid-solution hardening-type HX). The MPF simulation revealed that the segregation behavior of solute elements largely depends on the regions of the melt pool, such as the cell boundary, the interior of the melt-pool boundary, and heat-affected regions. The sensitivities of the various interfaces to liquation and solidification cracks are compared based on the predicted concentration distributions. Moreover, the feasibility of using the conventional MPF model for LPBF is discussed in terms of the absolute stability limit.

2. Methods

2.1. Laser-beam irradiation experiments

Rolled and recrystallized HX ingots with dimensions of 20 × 50 × 10 mm were used as the specimens for laser-irradiation experiments. The specimens were irradiated with a laser beam scanned along straight lines of 10 mm in length using a laser AM machine (EOS 290 M, EOS) equipped with a 400 W Yb-fiber laser. Irradiation was performed with a beam power of P = 300 W and a scanning speed of V = 600 mm s-1, which are the conditions generally used in the LPBF fabrication of Ni-based superalloy [8]. The corresponding line energy was 0.5 J mm-1. The samples were cut perpendicular to the beam-scanning direction for cross-sectional observation using a field-emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM, JEOL JSM 6500). Crystal orientation analysis was performed by electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD). The sizes of each crystal grain and their aspect ratios were evaluated by analyzing the EBSD data.

2.2. CtFD simulation

CtFD simulations of the laser-beam irradiation of HX were performed using a 3D thermo-fluid analysis software (Flow Science FLOW-3D® with Flow-3D Weld module). A Gaussian heat source model was used, in which the irradiation intensity distribution of the beam is regarded as a symmetrical Gaussian distribution over the entire beam. The distribution of the beam irradiation intensity is expressed by the following equation.(1)q̇=2ηPπR2exp−2r2R2.

Here, P is the power, R is the effective beam radius, r is the actual beam radius, and η is the beam absorption rate of the substrate. To improve the accuracy of the model, η was calculated by assuming multiple reflections using the Fresnel equation:(2)�=1−121+1−�cos�21+1+�cos�2+�2−2�cos�+2cos2��2+2�cos�+2cos2�.

ε is the Fresnel coefficient and θ is the incident angle of the laser. A local laser melt causes the vaporization of the material and results in a high vapor pressure. This vapor pressure acts as a recoil pressure on the surface, pushing the weld pool down. The recoil pressure is reproduced using the following equation.(3)precoil=Ap0exp∆HLVRTV1−TVT.

Here, p0 is the atmospheric pressure, ∆HLV is the latent heat of vaporization, R is the gas constant, and TV is the boiling point at the saturated vapor pressure. A is a ratio coefficient that is generally assumed to be 0.54, indicating that the recoil pressure due to evaporation is 54% of the vapor pressure at equilibrium on the liquid surface.

Table 1 shows the parameters used in the simulations. Most parameters were evaluated using an alloy physical property calculation software (Sente software JMatPro v11). The values in a previously published study [31] were used for the emissivity and the Stefan–Boltzmann constant, and the values for pure Ni [32] were used for the heat of vaporization and vaporization temperatures. The Fresnel coefficient, which determines the beam absorption efficiency, was used as a fitting parameter to reproduce the morphology of the experimentally observed melt region, and a Fresnel coefficient of 0.12 was used in this study.

Table 1. Parameters used in the CtFD simulations.

ParameterSymbolValueReference
Density at 298.15 Kρ8.24 g cm-3[]
Liquidus temperatureTL1628.15 K[]
Solidus temperatureTS1533.15 K[]
Viscosity at TLη6.8 g m-1 s-1[]
Specific heat at 298.15 KCP0.439 J g-1 K-1[]
Thermal conductivity at 298.15 Kλ10.3 W m-1 K-1[]
Surface tension at TLγL1.85 J m-2[]
Temperature coefficient of surface tensiondγL/dT–2.5 × 10−4 J m-2 K-1[]
EmissivityΕ0.27[31]
Stefan–Boltzmann constantσ5.67 × 10-8 W m-2 K-4[31]
Heat of fusionΔHSL2.76 × 102 J g-1[32]
Heat of vaporizationΔHLV4.29 × 10J g-1[32]
Vaporization temperatureTV3110 K[32]

Calculated using JMatPro v11.

The dimensions of the computational domain of the numerical model were 4.0 mm in the beam-scanning direction, 0.4 mm in width, and 0.3 mm in height. A uniform mesh size of 10 μm was applied throughout the computational domain. The boundary condition of continuity was applied to all boundaries except for the top surface. The temperature was initially set to 300 K. P and V were set to their experimental values, i.e., 300 W and 600 mm s-1, respectively. Solidification conditions based on the temperature gradient, G, the solidification rate, R, and the cooling rate were evaluated, and the obtained temperature distribution was used in the MPF simulations.

2.3. MPF simulation

Two-dimensional MPF simulations weakly coupled with the CtFD simulation were performed using the Microstructure Evolution Simulation Software (MICRESS) [33][34][35][36][37] with the TQ-Interface for Thermo-Calc [38]. A simplified HX alloy composition of Ni-21.4Cr-17.6Fe-0.46Mn-8.80Mo-0.39Si-0.50W-1.10Co-0.08 C (mass %) was used in this study. The Gibbs free energy and diffusion coefficient of the system were calculated using the TCNI9 thermodynamic database [39] and the MOBNi5 mobility database [40]. Τhe equilibrium phase diagram calculated using Thermo-Calc indicates that the face-centered cubic (FCC) and σ phases appear as the equilibrium solid phases [19]. However, according to the time-temperature-transformation (TTT) diagram [41], the phases are formed after the sample is maintained for tens of hours in a temperature range of 1073 to 1173 K. Therefore, only the liquid and FCC phases were assumed to appear in the MPF simulations. The simulation domain was 5 × 100 μm, and the grid size Δx and interface width were set to 0.025 and 0.1 µm, respectively. The interfacial mobility between the solid and liquid phases was set to 1.0 × 10-8 m4 J-1 s-1. Initially, one crystalline nucleus with a [100] crystal orientation was placed at the left bottom of the simulation domain, with the liquid phase occupying the remainder of the domain. The model was solidified under the temperature field distribution obtained by the CtFD simulation. The concentration distribution and crystal orientation of the solidified model were examined. The primary dendrite arm space (PDAS) was compared to the experimental PDAS measured by the cross-sectional SEM observation.

In an actual LPBF process, solidified layers are remelted and resolidified during the stacking of the one layer above, thereby greatly affecting solute element distributions in those regions. Therefore, remelting and resolidification simulations were performed to examine the effect of remelting on solute segregation. The solidified model was remelted and resolidified by applying a time-dependent temperature field shifted by 60 μm in the height direction, assuming reheating during the stacking of the upper layer (i.e., the upper 40 μm region of the simulation box was remelted and resolidified). The changes in the composition distribution and formed microstructure were investigated.

3. Results

3.1. Experimental observation of melt pool

Fig. 1 shows a cross-sectional optical microscopy image and corresponding inverse pole figure (IPF) orientation maps obtained from the laser-melted region of HX. The dashed line indicates the fusion line. A deep melted region was formed by keyhole-mode melting due to the vaporization of the metal and resultant recoil pressure. Epitaxial growth from the unmelted region was observed. Columnar crystal grains with an average diameter of 5.46 ± 0.32 μm and an aspect ratio of 3.61 ± 0.13 appeared at the melt regions (Figs. 1b–1d). In addition, crystal grains growing in the z direction could be observed in the lower center.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2a shows a cross-sectional backscattering electron image (BEI) obtained from the laser-melted region indicated by the black square in Fig. 1a. The bright particles with a diameter of approximately 2 μm observed outside the melt pool. It is well known that M6C, M23C6, σ, and μ precipitate phases are formed in Hastelloy-X [41]. These precipitates mainly consisted of Mo, Cr, Fe, and Ni; The μ and M6C phases are rich in Mo, while the σ and M23C6 phases are rich in Cr. The SEM energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy analysis suggested that the bright particles are the stable precipitates as shown in Fig. S2 and Table S1. Conversely, there are no carbides in the melt pool. This suggests that the cooling rate is extremely high during LPBF, which prevents the formation of a stable carbide during solidification. Figs. 2b–2f show magnified BEI images at different height positions indicated in Fig. 2a. Bright regions are observed between the cells, which become fragmentary at the center of the melt pool, as indicated by the yellow arrow heads in Figs. 2e and 2f.

Fig. 2

3.2. CtFD simulation

Figs. 3a–3c show snapshots of the CtFD simulation of HX at 2.72 ms, with the temperature indicated in color. A melt pool with an elongated teardrop shape formed and keyhole-mode melting was observed at the front of the melt region. The cooling rate, temperature gradient (G), and solidification rate (R) were evaluated from the temporal change in the temperature distribution of the CtFD simulation results. The z-position of the solid/liquid interface during the melting and solidification processes is shown in Fig. 3d. The interface goes down rapidly during melting and then rises during solidification. The MPF simulation of the microstructure formation during solidification was performed using the temperature distribution. Moreover, the microstructure formation process during the fabrication of the upper layer was investigated by remelting and resolidifying the solidified layer using the same temperature distribution with a 60 μm upward shift, corresponding to the layer thickness commonly used in the LPBF of Ni-based superalloys.

Fig. 3

Figs. 4a–4c show the changes in the cooling rate, temperature gradient, and solidification rate in the center line of the melt pool parallel to the z direction. To output the solidification conditions at the solid/liquid interface in the melt pool, only the data of the mesh where the solid phase ratio was close to 0.5 were plotted. Solidification occurred where the cooling rate was in the range of 2.1 × 105–1.6 × 10K s-1G was in the range of 3.6 × 105–1.9 × 10K m-1, and R was in the range of 8.2 × 10−2–6.3 × 10−1 m s-1. The cooling rate was the highest near the fusion line and decreased as the interface approached the center of the melt region (Fig. 4a). G also exhibited the highest value in the regions near the fusion line and decreased throughout the solid/liquid interface toward the center of the melt pool (Fig. 4b). R had the lowest value near the fusion line and increased as the interface approached the center of the melt region (Fig. 4c).

Fig. 4

3.3. MPF simulations coupled with CtFD simulation

MPF simulations of solidification, remelting, and resolidification were performed using the temperature-time distribution obtained by the CtFD simulation. Fig. 5 shows the MPF solidified models colored by phase and Mo concentration. All the computational domains show the FCC phase after the solidification (Fig. 5a). Dendrites grew parallel to the heat flow direction, and solute segregations were observed in the interdendritic regions. At the bottom of the melt pool (Fig. 5d), planar interface growth occurred before the formation of primary dendrites. The bottom of the melt pool is the turning point of the solid/liquid interface from the downward motion in melting to the upward motion in solidification. Thus, the solidification rate at the boundary is zero, and is extremely low immediately above the molt-pool boundary. Here, the lower limit of the solidification rate (R) for dendritic growth can be represented by the constitutional supercooling criterion [29]Vcs = (G × DL) / ΔT, and planar interface growth occurs at R < VcsDL and ΔT denote the diffusion coefficient in the liquid and the equilibrium freezing range, respectively. The results suggest that planar interface growth occurs at the bottom of the melt pool, resulting in a dark region with a different solute element distribution. Some of the primary dendrites were diminished by competition with other dendrites. In addition, secondary dendrite arms could be seen in the upper regions (Fig. 5c), where solidification occurred at a lower cooling rate. The fragmentation of the solute segregation near the secondary dendrite arms is similar to that observed in the experimental melt pool shown in Figs. 2e and 2f, and the secondary dendrite arms are suggested to have appeared at the center of the melt region. Fig. 6 shows the PDASs measured from the MPF simulation models, compared to the experimental PDASs measured by the cross-sectional SEM observation of the laser-melted regions (Fig. 2). The PDAS obtained by the MPF simulation become larger as the solidification progress. Ghosh et al. [21] evident by the phase-field method that the PDAS decreases as the cooling rate increases under the rapid cooling conditions obtained by the finite element analysis. In this study, the cooling rate was decreased as the interface approached the center of the melt region (Fig. 4a), and the trends in PDAS changes with respect to cooling rate is same as the reported trend [21]. The simulated trends of the PDAS with the position in the melt pool agreed well with the experimental trends. However, all PDASs in the simulation were larger than those observed in the experiment at the same positions. Ode et al. [42] reported that PDAS differences between 2D and 3D MPF simulations can be represented by PDAS2D = 1.12 × PDAS3D owing to differences in the effects of the interfacial energy and diffusivity. We also performed 2D and 3D MPF simulations under the solidification conditions of G = 1.94 × 10K m-1 and R = 0.82 m s-1 (Fig. S1), and found that the PDAS from the 2D MPF simulation was 1.26 times larger than that from the 3D simulation. Therefore, the cell structure obtained by the CtFD simulation coupled with the 2D MPF simulation agreed well with the experimental results over the entire melt pool region considering the dimensional effects.

Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Fig. 7b1 and 7c1 show the concentration profiles of the solidified model along the growth direction indicated by dashed lines in Fig. 7a. The differences in concentrations from the alloy composition are also shown in Fig. 7b2 and 7c2. Cr, Mo, C, Mn, and W were segregated to the interdendritic regions, while Si, Fe, and Co were depressed. The solute segregation behavior agrees with the experimentally observation [43] and the prediction by the Scheil-Gulliver simulation [19]. Segregation occurred to the highest degree in Mo, while the ratio of segregation to the alloy composition was remarkable in C. The concentration fluctuations correlated with the position in the melt pool and decreased at the center of the melt pool, which was suggested to correspond to the lower cooling rate in this region. Conversely, droplets that appeared between secondary dendrite arms in the upper regions of the simulation domain exhibited a locally high segregation of solute elements, with the same amount of segregation as that at the bottom of the melt pool.

Fig. 7

3.4. Remelting and resolidification simulation

The solidified model was subjected to remelting and resolidification conditions by shifting the temperature profile upward by 60 µm to reveal the effect of reheating on the solute segregation behavior. Figs. 8a and 8b shows the simulation domains of the HX model after resolidification, colored by phase and Mo concentration. The magnified MPF models during the resolidification of the regions indicated by rectangles in Figs. 8a and 8b are also shown as Figs. 8c and 8d. Dendrites grew from the bottom of the remelted region, with the segregation of solute elements occurring in the interdendritic regions. The entire domain become the FCC phase after the resolidification, as shown in Fig. 8a. The bottom of the remelted regions exhibited a different microstructure, and Mo was depressed at the remelted regions, rather than the interdendritic regions. The different solute segregation behavior [44] and the microstructure formation [45] at the melt pool boundary is also observed in LPBF manufactured 316 L stainless steel. We found that this microstructure was formed by further remelting during the resolidification process, which is shown in Fig. 9. Here, the solidified HX model was heated, and the interdendritic regions were preferentially melted while concentration fluctuations were maintained (Fig. 9a1 and 9a2). Subsequently, planer interface growth occurs near the melt pool boundary where the solidification rate is almost zero, and the dendrites outside of the boundary are grown epitaxially (Fig. 9b1 and 9b2). However, these remelted again because of the temperature rise (Fig. 9c1 and 9c2, and the temperature-time profile shown in Fig. 9e). The remelted regions then cooled and solidified with the abnormal solute segregations (Fig. 9d1 and 9d2). Then, dendrite grows from amplified fluctuations under the solidification rate larger than the criterion of constitutional supercooling (Fig. 9d1, 9d2, and Fig. 8d). It has been reported [46][47] that temperature rising owning to latent heat affects microstructure formation: phase-field simulations of a Ni–Al binary alloy suggest that the release of latent heat during solidification increases the average temperature of the system [46] and strongly influences the solidification conditions [47]. In this study, the release of latent heat during solidification is considered in CtFD simulations for calculating the temperature distribution, and the temperature increase is suggested to have also occurred due to the release of latent heat.

Fig. 8
Fig. 9

Fig. 10b1 and 10c1 show the solute element concentration line profiles of the resolidified model along the growth direction indicated by dashed lines in Fig. 10a. Fig. 10b2 and 10c2 show the corresponding differences in concentration from the alloy composition. The segregation behavior of solute elements at the interdendritic regions (Fig. 10b1 and 10b2) was the same as that in the solidified model (Figs. 7b1 and 7b2). Here, Cr, Mo, C, Mn, and W were segregated to the interdendritic regions, while Si, Fe, and Co were depressed. However, the concentration fluctuations at the interdendritic regions were larger than those in the solidified model. Moreover, the segregation of the outside of the melt pool, i.e., the heat-affected zone, was remarkable throughout remelting and resolidification. Different segregation behaviors were observed in the re-remelted region: Mo, Si, Mn, and W were segregated, while Ni, Fe, and Co were depressed. These solute segregations caused by remelting are expected to heavily influence the crack behavior.

Fig. 10

4. Discussion

4.1. Effect of segregation of solute elements on liquation cracking susceptibility

Strong solute segregation was observed between the interdendritic regions of the solidified alloy (Fig. 7). In addition, the solute segregation behavior was significantly affected by remelting and resolidification and varied across the alloy. Solute segregation can be categorized by the regions shown in Fig. 11a1–11a4, namely the cell boundary (Fig. 11a1), interior of the melt-pool boundary (Fig. 11a2), re-remelted regions (Fig. 11a3), and heat-affected regions (Fig. 11a4). The concentration profiles of these regions are shown in Fig. 11b1–11b4. Solute segregation was the highest in the cell boundary region. The solute segregation in the heat-affected region was almost the same as that in the cell boundary region, but seemed to have been attenuated by reheating during remelting and resolidification. The interior of the melt-pool boundary region also had the same tendency for solute segregation. However, the amount of Cr segregation was smaller than that of Mo. A decrease in the Cr concentration was also mitigated, and the concentration remained the same as that in the alloy composition. Fig. 11c1–11c4 show the chemical potentials of the solute elements for the FCC phase at 1073 K calculated using the compositions of those interfacial regions. All the interfacial regions showed non-constant chemical potentials for each element along the perpendicular direction, but the fluctuations of the chemical potentials differed by the type of interfaces. In particular, the fluctuation of the chemical potential of C at the cell boundary region was the largest, suggesting it can be relaxed easily by heat treatment. On the other hand, the fluctuations of the other elements in all the regions were small. The solute segregations are most likely to remain after the heat treatment and are supposed to affect the cracking susceptibilities.

Fig. 11

The solidus temperatures TS, the difference between the liquidus and solidus temperatures (i.e., the brittle temperature range (BTR)), and the fractions of the equilibrium precipitate phases at 1073 K of the interfacial regions were calculated as the liquation, solidification, and ductility dip cracking susceptibilities, respectively. At the cell boundary (Fig. 12a1), interior of the melt-pool boundary (Fig. 12a1), and heat-affected regions (Fig. 12a1), the internal and interfacial regions exhibited higher and lower TS compared to that of the alloy composition, respectively. The lowest Ts was obtained with the composition at the cell boundary region, which is the largest solute-segregated region. It has been suggested that strong segregations of solute elements in LPBF lead to liquation cracks [16]. This study also supports this suggestion, and liquation cracks are more likely to occur at the interfacial regions indicated by predicting the solute segregation behavior using the MPF model. Additionally, the BTRs of the cell boundary, interior of the melt-pool boundary, and heat-affected regions were wider at the interdendritic regions, and solidification cracks were also likely to occur in these regions. Moreover, within the solute segregation regions, the fraction of the precipitate phases in these interfacial regions was larger than that calculated using the alloy composition (Fig. 12c1, 12c2, and 12c4). This indicates that ductility dip cracking is also likely to occur at the cell boundary, interior of the melt-pool boundary, and in heat-affected regions. Contrarily, we found that the re-remelted region exhibited a higher TS and smaller BTR even in the interfacial region (Fig. 12a3 and 12b3), where the solute segregation behavior was different from that of the other regions. In addition, the re-remelting region exhibited less precipitation compared with the other segregated regions (Fig. 12c3). The re-remelting caused by the latent heat can attenuate solute segregation, prevent Ts from decreasing, decrease the BTR, and decrease the amount of precipitate phases. Alloys with a large amount of latent heat are expected to increase the re-remelting region, thereby decreasing the susceptibility to liquation and ductility dip cracks due to solute element segregation. This can be a guide for designing alloys for the LPBF process. As mentioned in Section 3.4, the microstructure [45] and the solute segregation behavior [44] at the melt pool boundary of LPBF-manufactured 316 L stainless steel are observed, and they are different from that of the interdendritic regions. Experimental observations of the solute segregation behavior in the LPBF-fabricated Ni-based alloys are currently underway.

Fig. 12

4.2. Applicability of the conventional MPF simulation to microstructure formation under LPBF

As the solidification growth rate increases, segregation coefficients approach 1, and the fluctuation of the solid/liquid interface is suppressed by the interfacial tension. The interface growth occurs in a flat fashion instead of having a cellular morphology at a velocity above the absolute stability limit, Ras, predicted by the Mullins-Sekerka theory [29]Ras = (ΔT0 DL) / (k Γ) where ΔT0DLk, and Γ are the difference between the liquidus and solidus temperatures, equilibrium segregation coefficient, the diffusivity of liquid, and the Gibbs-Thomson coefficient, respectively.

The Ras of HX was calculated using the equation and the thermodynamic parameters obtained by the TCNI9 thermodynamic database [39]. The calculated Ras of HX was 3.9 m s-1 and is ten times larger than that of the Ni–Nb alloy (approximately 0.4 m s-1[20]. The HX alloy was solidified under R values in the range of 8.2 × 10−2–6.3 × 10−1 m s-1. The theoretically calculated criterion is larger than the evaluated R, and is in agreement with the experiment in which dendritic growth is observed in the melt pool (Fig. 5). In contrast, Karayagiz et al. [20] reported that the R of the Ni–Nb binary alloy under LPBF was as high as approximately 2 m s-1, and planar interface growth was observed to be predominant under the high-growth-rate conditions. These experimentally observed microstructures agree well with the prediction by the Mullins-Sekerka theory about the relationship between the morphology and solidification rates.

In this study, the solidification microstructure formed by the laser-beam irradiation of an HX multicomponent Ni-based superalloy was reproduced by a conventional MPF simulation, in which the system was assumed to be in a quasi-equilibrium condition. Boussinot et al. [24] also suggested that the conventional phase-field model can be applied to simulate the microstructure of an IN718 multicomponent Ni-based superalloy in LPBF. In contrast, Kagayaski et al. [20] suggested that the conventional MPF simulation cannot be applied to the solidification of the Ni-Nb binary alloy system and that the finite interface dissipation model proposed by Steinbach et al. [48][49] is necessary to simulate the high solidification rates observed in LPBF. The difference in the applicability of the conventional MPF method to HX and Ni–Nb binary alloys is presumed to arise from the differences in the non-equilibrium degree of these systems under the high solidification rates of LPBF. The results suggest that Ras can be used as a simple index to apply the conventional MPF model for solidification in LPBF. Solidification becomes a non-equilibrium process as the solidification rate approaches the limit of absolute stability, Ras. In this study, the solidification of the HX multicomponent system occurred under a relatively low solidification rate compared to Ras, and the microstructure of the conventional MPF model was successfully reproduced in the physical experiment. However, note that the limit of absolute stability predicted by the Mullins-Sekerka theory was originally proposed for solidification in a binary alloy system, and further investigation is required to consider its applicability to multicomponent alloy systems. Moreover, the fast solidification, such as in the LPBF process, causes segregation coefficient approaching a value of 1 [20][21][25] corresponds to a diffusion length that is on the order of the atomic interface thickness. When the segregation coefficient approaches 1, solute undercooling disappears; hence, there is no driving force to amplify fluctuations regardless of whether interfacial tension is present. This phenomenon should be further investigated in future studies.

5. Conclusions

We simulated solute segregation in a multicomponent HX alloy under the LPBF process by an MPF simulation using the temperature distributions obtained by a CtFD simulation. We set the parameters of the CtFD simulation to match the melt pool shape formed in the laser-irradiation experiment and found that solidification occurred under high cooling rates of up to 1.6 × 10K s-1.

MPF simulations using the temperature distributions from CtFD simulation could reproduce the experimentally observed PDAS and revealed that significant solute segregation occurred at the interdendritic regions. Equilibrium thermodynamic calculations using the alloy compositions of the segregated regions when considering crack sensitivities suggested a decrease in the solidus temperature and an increase in the amount of carbide precipitation, thereby increasing the susceptibility to liquation and ductility dip cracks in these regions. Notably, these changes were suppressed at the melt-pool boundary region, where re-remelting occurred during the stacking of the layer above. This effect can be used to achieve a novel in-process segregation attenuation.

Our study revealed that a conventional MPF simulation weakly coupled with a CtFD simulation can be used to study the solidification of multicomponent alloys in LPBF, contrary to the cases of binary alloys investigated in previous studies. We discussed the applicability of the conventional MPF model to the LPBF process in terms of the limit of absolute stability, Ras, and suggested that alloys with a high limit velocity, i.e., multicomponent alloys, can be simulated using the conventional MPF model even under the high solidification velocity conditions of LPBF.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Masayuki Okugawa: Writing – review & editing, Writing – original draft, Visualization, Validation, Software, Methodology, Investigation, Formal analysis, Data curation, Conceptualization. Takayoshi Nakano: Writing – review & editing, Validation, Supervision, Funding acquisition. Yuichiro Koizumi: Writing – review & editing, Visualization, Validation, Supervision, Project administration, Methodology, Investigation, Funding acquisition, Formal analysis, Data curation, Conceptualization. Sukeharu Nomoto: Writing – review & editing, Validation, Investigation. Makoto Watanabe: Writing – review & editing, Validation, Supervision, Funding acquisition. Katsuhiko Sawaizumi: Validation, Software, Investigation, Formal analysis, Data curation. Kenji Saito: Visualization, Validation, Software, Methodology, Investigation, Formal analysis, Data curation. Haruki Yoshima: Visualization, Validation, Software, Investigation, Formal analysis, Data curation.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper

Acknowledgments

This work was partly supported by the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan, Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP), “Materials Integration for Revolutionary Design System of Structural Materials,” (funding agency: The Japan Science and Technology Agency), by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers 21H05018 and 21H05193, and by CREST Nanomechanics: Elucidation of macroscale mechanical properties based on understanding nanoscale dynamics for innovative mechanical materials (Grant Number: JPMJCR2194) from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The authors would like to thank Mr. H. Kawabata and Mr. K. Kimura for their technical support with the sample preparations and laser beam irradiation experiments.

Appendix A. Supplementary material

Download : Download Word document (654KB)

Supplementary material.

Data availability

Data will be made available on request.

References

Figure 5. Simulation of the molten pool under low-speed scanning (1.06 m/s). (a) Sequential solidification of the molten pool at the end of the melt track for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (b) Recoil pressure on the molten pool at the keyhole for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (c) The force diagram of the melt at the back of the keyhole at t = 750 μs in case B. (d) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case A. (e) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case B.

Revealing formation mechanism of end of processdepression in laser powder bed fusion by multiphysics meso-scale simulation

다중물리 메조 규모 시뮬레이션을 통해 레이저 분말층 융합에서 공정 종료의 함몰 형성 메커니즘 공개

Haodong Chen a,b, Xin Lin a,b,c, Yajing Sund, Shuhao Wanga,b, Kunpeng Zhu a,b,c and Binbin Dana,b

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/17452759.2024.2326599

ABSTRACT

Unintended end-of-process depression (EOPD) commonly occurs in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), leading to poor surface quality and lower fatigue strength, especially for many implants. In this study, a high-fidelity multi-physics meso-scale simulation model is developed to uncover the forming mechanism of this defect. A defect-process map of the EOPD phenomenon is obtained using this simulation model. It is found that the EOPD formation mechanisms are different under distinct regions of process parameters. At low scanning speeds in keyhole mode, the long-lasting recoil pressure and the large temperature gradient easily induce EOPD. While at high scanning speeds in keyhole mode, the shallow molten pool morphology and the large solidification rate allow the keyhole to evolve into an EOPD quickly. Nevertheless, in the conduction mode, the Marangoni effects along with a faster solidification rate induce EOPD. Finally, a ‘step’ variable power strategy is proposed to optimise the EOPD defects for the case with high volumetric energy density at low scanning speeds. This work provides a profound understanding and valuable insights into the quality control of LPBF fabrication.

의도하지 않은 공정 종료 후 함몰(EOPD)은 LPBF(레이저 분말층 융합)에서 흔히 발생하며, 특히 많은 임플란트의 경우 표면 품질이 떨어지고 피로 강도가 낮아집니다. 본 연구에서는 이 결함의 형성 메커니즘을 밝히기 위해 충실도가 높은 다중 물리학 메조 규모 시뮬레이션 모델을 개발했습니다.

이 시뮬레이션 모델을 사용하여 EOPD 현상의 결함 프로세스 맵을 얻습니다. EOPD 형성 메커니즘은 공정 매개변수의 별개 영역에서 서로 다른 것으로 밝혀졌습니다.

키홀 모드의 낮은 스캔 속도에서는 오래 지속되는 반동 압력과 큰 온도 구배로 인해 EOPD가 쉽게 유발됩니다. 키홀 모드에서 높은 스캐닝 속도를 유지하는 동안 얕은 용융 풀 형태와 큰 응고 속도로 인해 키홀이 EOPD로 빠르게 진화할 수 있습니다.

그럼에도 불구하고 전도 모드에서는 더 빠른 응고 속도와 함께 마랑고니 효과가 EOPD를 유발합니다. 마지막으로, 낮은 스캐닝 속도에서 높은 체적 에너지 밀도를 갖는 경우에 대해 EOPD 결함을 최적화하기 위한 ‘단계’ 가변 전력 전략이 제안되었습니다.

이 작업은 LPBF 제조의 품질 관리에 대한 심오한 이해와 귀중한 통찰력을 제공합니다.

Figure 5. Simulation of the molten pool under low-speed scanning (1.06 m/s). (a) Sequential solidification of the molten pool at the
end of the melt track for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (b) Recoil pressure on the molten pool at the keyhole for laser
powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (c) The force diagram of the melt at the back of the keyhole at t = 750 μs in case B. (d) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case A. (e) Temperature
gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case B.
Figure 5. Simulation of the molten pool under low-speed scanning (1.06 m/s). (a) Sequential solidification of the molten pool at the end of the melt track for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (b) Recoil pressure on the molten pool at the keyhole for laser powers of 190 and 340 W, respectively. (c) The force diagram of the melt at the back of the keyhole at t = 750 μs in case B. (d) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case A. (e) Temperature gradient at the solid–liquid interface of the molten pool at the moment the laser is deactivated in case B.

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Schematic diagram of HP-LPBF melting process.

Modeling and numerical studies of high-precision laser powder bed fusion

Yi Wei ;Genyu Chen;Nengru Tao;Wei Zhou
https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0191504

In order to comprehensively reveal the evolutionary dynamics of the molten pool and the state of motion of the fluid during the high-precision laser powder bed fusion (HP-LPBF) process, this study aims to deeply investigate the specific manifestations of the multiphase flow, solidification phenomena, and heat transfer during the process by means of numerical simulation methods. Numerical simulation models of SS316L single-layer HP-LPBF formation with single and double tracks were constructed using the discrete element method and the computational fluid dynamics method. The effects of various factors such as Marangoni convection, surface tension, vapor recoil, gravity, thermal convection, thermal radiation, and evaporative heat dissipation on the heat and mass transfer in the molten pool have been paid attention to during the model construction process. The results show that the molten pool exhibits a “comet” shape, in which the temperature gradient at the front end of the pool is significantly larger than that at the tail end, with the highest temperature gradient up to 1.69 × 108 K/s. It is also found that the depth of the second track is larger than that of the first one, and the process parameter window has been determined preliminarily. In addition, the application of HP-LPBF technology helps to reduce the surface roughness and minimize the forming size.

Topics

Heat transferNonequilibrium thermodynamicsSolidification processComputer simulationDiscrete element methodLasersMass transferFluid mechanicsComputational fluid dynamicsMultiphase flows

I. INTRODUCTION

Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) has become a research hotspot in the field of additive manufacturing of metals due to its advantages of high-dimensional accuracy, good surface quality, high density, and high material utilization.1,2 With the rapid development of electronics, medical, automotive, biotechnology, energy, communication, and optics, the demand for microfabrication technology is increasing day by day.3 High-precision laser powder bed fusion (HP-LPBF) is one of the key manufacturing technologies for tiny parts in the fields of electronics, medical, automotive, biotechnology, energy, communication, and optics because of its process characteristics such as small focal spot diameter, small powder particle size, and thin powder layup layer thickness.4–13 Compared with LPBF, HP-LPBF has the significant advantages of smaller focal spot diameter, smaller powder particle size, and thinner layer thickness. These advantages make HP-LPBF perform better in producing micro-fine parts, high surface quality, and parts with excellent mechanical properties.

HP-LPBF is in the exploratory stage, and researchers have already done some exploratory studies on the focal spot diameter, the amount of defocusing, and the powder particle size. In order to explore the influence of changing the laser focal spot diameter on the LPBF process characteristics of the law, Wildman et al.14 studied five groups of different focal spot diameter LPBF forming 316L stainless steel (SS316L) processing effect, the smallest focal spot diameter of 26 μm, and the results confirm that changing the focal spot diameter can be achieved to achieve the energy control, so as to control the quality of forming. Subsequently, Mclouth et al.15 proposed the laser out-of-focus amount (focal spot diameter) parameter, which characterizes the distance between the forming plane and the laser focal plane. The laser energy density was controlled by varying the defocusing amount while keeping the laser parameters constant. Sample preparation at different focal positions was investigated, and their microstructures were characterized. The results show that the samples at the focal plane have finer microstructure than those away from the focal plane, which is the effect of higher power density and smaller focal spot diameter. In order to explore the influence of changing the powder particle size on the characteristics of the LPBF process, Qian et al.16 carried out single-track scanning simulations on powder beds with average powder particle sizes of 70 and 40 μm, respectively, and the results showed that the melt tracks sizes were close to each other under the same process parameters for the two particle-size distributions and that the molten pool of powder beds with small particles was more elongated and the edges of the melt tracks were relatively flat. In order to explore the superiority of HP-LPBF technology, Xu et al.17 conducted a comparative analysis of HP-LPBF and conventional LPBF of SS316L. The results showed that the average surface roughness of the top surface after forming by HP-LPBF could reach 3.40 μm. Once again, it was verified that HP-LPBF had higher forming quality than conventional LPBF. On this basis, Wei et al.6 comparatively analyzed the effects of different laser focal spot diameters on different powder particle sizes formed by LPBF. The results showed that the smaller the laser focal spot diameter, the fewer the defects on the top and side surfaces. The above research results confirm that reducing the laser focal spot diameter can obtain higher energy density and thus better forming quality.

LPBF involves a variety of complex systems and mechanisms, and the final quality of the part is influenced by a large number of process parameters.18–24 Some research results have shown that there are more than 50 factors affecting the quality of the specimen. The influencing factors are mainly categorized into three main groups: (1) laser parameters, (2) powder parameters, and (3) equipment parameters, which interact with each other to determine the final specimen quality. With the continuous development of technologies such as computational materials science and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the method of studying the influence of different factors on the forming quality of LPBF forming process has been shifted from time-consuming and laborious experimental characterization to the use of numerical simulation methods. As a result, more and more researchers are adopting this approach for their studies. Currently, numerical simulation studies on LPBF are mainly focused on the exploration of molten pool, temperature distribution, and residual stresses.

  1. Finite element simulation based on continuum mechanics and free surface fluid flow modeling based on fluid dynamics are two common approaches to study the behavior of LPBF molten pool.25–28 Finite element simulation focuses on the temperature and thermal stress fields, treats the powder bed as a continuum, and determines the molten pool size by plotting the elemental temperature above the melting point. In contrast, fluid dynamics modeling can simulate the 2D or 3D morphology of the metal powder pile and obtain the powder size and distribution by certain algorithms.29 The flow in the molten pool is mainly affected by recoil pressure and the Marangoni effect. By simulating the molten pool formation, it is possible to predict defects, molten pool shape, and flow characteristics, as well as the effect of process parameters on the molten pool geometry.30–34 In addition, other researchers have been conducted to optimize the laser processing parameters through different simulation methods and experimental data.35–46 Crystal growth during solidification is studied to further understand the effect of laser parameters on dendritic morphology and solute segregation.47–54 A multi-scale system has been developed to describe the fused deposition process during 3D printing, which is combined with the conductive heat transfer model and the dendritic solidification model.55,56
  2. Relevant scholars have adopted various different methods for simulation, such as sequential coupling theory,57 Lagrangian and Eulerian thermal models,58 birth–death element method,25 and finite element method,59 in order to reveal the physical phenomena of the laser melting process and optimize the process parameters. Luo et al.60 compared the LPBF temperature field and molten pool under double ellipsoidal and Gaussian heat sources by ANSYS APDL and found that the diffusion of the laser energy in the powder significantly affects the molten pool size and the temperature field.
  3. The thermal stresses obtained from the simulation correlate with the actual cracks,61 and local preheating can effectively reduce the residual stresses.62 A three-dimensional thermodynamic finite element model investigated the temperature and stress variations during laser-assisted fabrication and found that powder-to-solid conversion increases the temperature gradient, stresses, and warpage.63 Other scholars have predicted residual stresses and part deflection for LPBF specimens and investigated the effects of deposition pattern, heat, laser power, and scanning strategy on residual stresses, noting that high-temperature gradients lead to higher residual stresses.64–67 

In short, the process of LPBF forming SS316L is extremely complex and usually involves drastic multi-scale physicochemical changes that will only take place on a very small scale. Existing literature employs DEM-based mesoscopic-scale numerical simulations to investigate the effects of process parameters on the molten pool dynamics of LPBF-formed SS316L. However, a few studies have been reported on the key mechanisms of heating and solidification, spatter, and convective behavior of the molten pool of HP-LPBF-formed SS316L with small laser focal spot diameters. In this paper, the geometrical properties of coarse and fine powder particles under three-dimensional conditions were first calculated using DEM. Then, numerical simulation models for single-track and double-track cases in the single-layer HP-LPBF forming SS316L process were developed at mesoscopic scale using the CFD method. The flow genesis of the melt in the single-track and double-track molten pools is discussed, and their 3D morphology and dimensional characteristics are discussed. In addition, the effects of laser process parameters, powder particle size, and laser focal spot diameter on the temperature field, characterization information, and defects in the molten pool are discussed.

II. MODELING

A. 3D powder bed modeling

HP-LPBF is an advanced processing technique for preparing target parts layer by layer stacking, the process of which involves repetitive spreading and melting of powders. In this process, both the powder spreading and the morphology of the powder bed are closely related to the results of the subsequent melting process, while the melted surface also affects the uniform distribution of the next layer of powder. For this reason, this chapter focuses on the modeling of the physical action during the powder spreading process and the theory of DEM to establish the numerical model of the powder bed, so as to lay a solid foundation for the accuracy of volume of fluid (VOF) and CFD.

1. DEM

DEM is a numerical technique for calculating the interaction of a large number of particles, which calculates the forces and motions of the spheres by considering each powder sphere as an independent unit. The motion of the powder particles follows the laws of classical Newtonian mechanics, including translational and rotational,38,68–70 which are expressed as follows:����¨=���+∑��ij,

(1)����¨=∑�(�ij×�ij),

(2)

where �� is the mass of unit particle i in kg, ��¨ is the advective acceleration in m/s2, And g is the gravitational acceleration in m/s2. �ij is the force in contact with the neighboring particle � in N. �� is the rotational inertia of the unit particle � in kg · m2. ��¨ is the unit particle � angular acceleration in rad/s2. �ij is the vector pointing from unit particle � to the contact point of neighboring particle �⁠.

Equations (1) and (2) can be used to calculate the velocity and angular velocity variations of powder particles to determine their positions and velocities. A three-dimensional powder bed model of SS316L was developed using DEM. The powder particles are assumed to be perfect spheres, and the substrate and walls are assumed to be rigid. To describe the contact between the powder particles and between the particles and the substrate, a non-slip Hertz–Mindlin nonlinear spring-damping model71 was used with the following expression:�hz=��������+��[(�����ij−�eff����)−(�����+�eff����)],

(3)

where �hz is the force calculated using the Hertzian in M. �� and �� are the radius of unit particles � and � in m, respectively. �� is the overlap size of the two powder particles in m. ��⁠, �� are the elastic constants in the normal and tangential directions, respectively. �ij is the unit vector connecting the centerlines of the two powder particles. �eff is the effective mass of the two powder particles in kg. �� and �� are the viscoelastic damping constants in the normal and tangential directions, respectively. �� and �� are the components of the relative velocities of the two powder particles. ��� is the displacement vector between two spherical particles. The schematic diagram of overlapping powder particles is shown in Fig. 1.

FIG. 1.

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Schematic diagram of overlapping powder particles.

Because the particle size of the powder used for HP-LPBF is much smaller than 100 μm, the effect of van der Waals forces must be considered. Therefore, the cohesive force �jkr of the Hertz–Mindlin model was used instead of van der Waals forces,72 with the following expression:�jkr=−4��0�*�1.5+4�*3�*�3,

(4)1�*=(1−��2)��+(1−��2)��,

(5)1�*=1��+1��,

(6)

where �* is the equivalent Young’s modulus in GPa; �* is the equivalent particle radius in m; �0 is the surface energy of the powder particles in J/m2; α is the contact radius in m; �� and �� are the Young’s modulus of the unit particles � and �⁠, respectively, in GPa; and �� and �� are the Poisson’s ratio of the unit particles � and �⁠, respectively.

2. Model building

Figure 2 shows a 3D powder bed model generated using DEM with a coarse powder geometry of 1000 × 400 × 30 μm3. The powder layer thickness is 30 μm, and the powder bed porosity is 40%. The average particle size of this spherical powder is 31.7 μm and is normally distributed in the range of 15–53 μm. The geometry of the fine powder was 1000 × 400 × 20 μm3, with a layer thickness of 20 μm, and the powder bed porosity of 40%. The average particle size of this spherical powder is 11.5 μm and is normally distributed in the range of 5–25 μm. After the 3D powder bed model is generated, it needs to be imported into the CFD simulation software for calculation, and the imported geometric model is shown in Fig. 3. This geometric model is mainly composed of three parts: protective gas, powder bed, and substrate. Under the premise of ensuring the accuracy of the calculation, the mesh size is set to 3 μm, and the total number of coarse powder meshes is 1 704 940. The total number of fine powder meshes is 3 982 250.

FIG. 2.

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Three-dimensional powder bed model: (a) coarse powder, (b) fine powder.

FIG. 3.

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Geometric modeling of the powder bed computational domain: (a) coarse powder, (b) fine powder.

B. Modeling of fluid mechanics simulation

In order to solve the flow, melting, and solidification problems involved in HP-LPBF molten pool, the study must follow the three governing equations of conservation of mass, conservation of energy, and conservation of momentum.73 The VOF method, which is the most widely used in fluid dynamics, is used to solve the molten pool dynamics model.

1. VOF

VOF is a method for tracking the free interface between the gas and liquid phases on the molten pool surface. The core idea of the method is to define a volume fraction function F within each grid, indicating the proportion of the grid space occupied by the material, 0 ≤ F ≤ 1 in Fig. 4. Specifically, when F = 0, the grid is empty and belongs to the gas-phase region; when F = 1, the grid is completely filled with material and belongs to the liquid-phase region; and when 0 < F < 1, the grid contains free surfaces and belongs to the mixed region. The direction normal to the free surface is the direction of the fastest change in the volume fraction F (the direction of the gradient of the volume fraction), and the direction of the gradient of the volume fraction can be calculated from the values of the volume fractions in the neighboring grids.74 The equations controlling the VOF are expressed as follows:𝛻����+�⋅(��→)=0,

(7)

where t is the time in s and �→ is the liquid velocity in m/s.

FIG. 4.

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Schematic diagram of VOF.

The material parameters of the mixing zone are altered due to the inclusion of both the gas and liquid phases. Therefore, in order to represent the density of the mixing zone, the average density �¯ is used, which is expressed as follows:72�¯=(1−�1)�gas+�1�metal,

(8)

where �1 is the proportion of liquid phase, �gas is the density of protective gas in kg/m3, and �metal is the density of metal in kg/m3.

2. Control equations and boundary conditions

Figure 5 is a schematic diagram of the HP-LPBF melting process. First, the laser light strikes a localized area of the material and rapidly heats up the area. Next, the energy absorbed in the region is diffused through a variety of pathways (heat conduction, heat convection, and surface radiation), and this process triggers complex phase transition phenomena (melting, evaporation, and solidification). In metals undergoing melting, the driving forces include surface tension and the Marangoni effect, recoil due to evaporation, and buoyancy due to gravity and uneven density. The above physical phenomena interact with each other and do not occur independently.

FIG. 5.

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Schematic diagram of HP-LPBF melting process.

  1. Laser heat sourceThe Gaussian surface heat source model is used as the laser heat source model with the following expression:�=2�0����2exp(−2�12��2),(9)where � is the heat flow density in W/m2, �0 is the absorption rate of SS316L, �� is the radius of the laser focal spot in m, and �1 is the radial distance from the center of the laser focal spot in m. The laser focal spot can be used for a wide range of applications.
  2. Energy absorptionThe formula for calculating the laser absorption �0 of SS316L is as follows:�0=0.365(�0[1+�0(�−20)]/�)0.5,(10)where �0 is the direct current resistivity of SS316L at 20 °C in Ω m, �0 is the resistance temperature coefficient in ppm/°C, � is the temperature in °C, and � is the laser wavelength in m.
  3. Heat transferThe basic principle of heat transfer is conservation of energy, which is expressed as follows:𝛻𝛻𝛻�(��)��+�·(��→�)=�·(�0����)+��,(11)where � is the density of liquid phase SS316L in kg/m3, �� is the specific heat capacity of SS316L in J/(kg K), 𝛻� is the gradient operator, t is the time in s, T is the temperature in K, 𝛻�� is the temperature gradient, �→ is the velocity vector, �0 is the coefficient of thermal conduction of SS316L in W/(m K), and  �� is the thermal energy dissipation term in the molten pool.
  4. Molten pool flowThe following three conditions need to be satisfied for the molten pool to flow:
    • Conservation of mass with the following expression:𝛻�·(��→)=0.(12)
    • Conservation of momentum (Navier–Stokes equation) with the following expression:𝛻𝛻𝛻𝛻���→��+�(�→·�)�→=�·[−pI+�(��→+(��→)�)]+�,(13)where � is the pressure in Pa exerted on the liquid phase SS316L microelement, � is the unit matrix, � is the fluid viscosity in N s/m2, and � is the volumetric force (gravity, atmospheric pressure, surface tension, vapor recoil, and the Marangoni effect).
    • Conservation of energy, see Eq. (11)
  5. Surface tension and the Marangoni effectThe effect of temperature on the surface tension coefficient is considered and set as a linear relationship with the following expression:�=�0−��dT(�−��),(14)where � is the surface tension of the molten pool at temperature T in N/m, �� is the melting temperature of SS316L in K, �0 is the surface tension of the molten pool at temperature �� in Pa, and σdσ/ dT is the surface tension temperature coefficient in N/(m K).In general, surface tension decreases with increasing temperature. A temperature gradient causes a gradient in surface tension that drives the liquid to flow, known as the Marangoni effect.
  6. Metal vapor recoilAt higher input energy densities, the maximum temperature of the molten pool surface reaches the evaporation temperature of the material, and a gasification recoil pressure occurs vertically downward toward the molten pool surface, which will be the dominant driving force for the molten pool flow.75 The expression is as follows:��=0.54�� exp ���−���0���,(15)where �� is the gasification recoil pressure in Pa, �� is the ambient pressure in kPa, �� is the latent heat of evaporation in J/kg, �0 is the gas constant in J/(mol K), T is the surface temperature of the molten pool in K, and Te is the evaporation temperature in K.
  7. Solid–liquid–gas phase transitionWhen the laser hits the powder layer, the powder goes through three stages: heating, melting, and solidification. During the solidification phase, mutual transformations between solid, liquid, and gaseous states occur. At this point, the latent heat of phase transition absorbed or released during the phase transition needs to be considered.68 The phase transition is represented based on the relationship between energy and temperature with the following expression:�=�����,(�<��),�(��)+�−����−����,(��<�<��)�(��)+(�−��)����,(��<�),,(16)where �� and �� are solid and liquid phase density, respectively, of SS316L in kg/m3. �� and �� unit volume of solid and liquid phase-specific heat capacity, respectively, of SS316L in J/(kg K). �� and ��⁠, respectively, are the solidification temperature and melting temperature of SS316L in K. �� is the latent heat of the phase transition of SS316L melting in J/kg.

3. Assumptions

The CFD model was computed using the commercial software package FLOW-3D.76 In order to simplify the calculation and solution process while ensuring the accuracy of the results, the model makes the following assumptions:

  1. It is assumed that the effects of thermal stress and material solid-phase thermal expansion on the calculation results are negligible.
  2. The molten pool flow is assumed to be a Newtonian incompressible laminar flow, while the effects of liquid thermal expansion and density on the results are neglected.
  3. It is assumed that the surface tension can be simplified to an equivalent pressure acting on the free surface of the molten pool, and the effect of chemical composition on the results is negligible.
  4. Neglecting the effect of the gas flow field on the molten pool.
  5. The mass loss due to evaporation of the liquid metal is not considered.
  6. The influence of the plasma effect of the molten metal on the calculation results is neglected.

It is worth noting that the formulation of assumptions requires a trade-off between accuracy and computational efficiency. In the above models, some physical phenomena that have a small effect or high difficulty on the calculation results are simplified or ignored. Such simplifications make numerical simulations more efficient and computationally tractable, while still yielding accurate results.

4. Initial conditions

The preheating temperature of the substrate was set to 393 K, at which time all materials were in the solid state and the flow rate was zero.

5. Material parameters

The material used is SS316L and the relevant parameters required for numerical simulations are shown in Table I.46,77,78

TABLE I.

SS316L-related parameters.

PropertySymbolValue
Density of solid metal (kg/m3�metal 7980 
Solid phase line temperature (K) �� 1658 
Liquid phase line temperature (K) �� 1723 
Vaporization temperature (K) �� 3090 
Latent heat of melting (⁠ J/kg⁠) �� 2.60×105 
Latent heat of evaporation (⁠ J/kg⁠) �� 7.45×106 
Surface tension of liquid phase (N /m⁠) � 1.60 
Liquid metal viscosity (kg/m s) �� 6×10−3 
Gaseous metal viscosity (kg/m s) �gas 1.85×10−5 
Temperature coefficient of surface tension (N/m K) ��/�T 0.80×10−3 
Molar mass (⁠ kg/mol⁠) 0.05 593 
Emissivity � 0.26 
Laser absorption �0 0.35 
Ambient pressure (kPa) �� 101 325 
Ambient temperature (K) �0 300 
Stefan–Boltzmann constant (W/m2 K4� 5.67×10−8 
Thermal conductivity of metals (⁠ W/m K⁠) � 24.55 
Density of protective gas (kg/m3�gas 1.25 
Coefficient of thermal expansion (/K) �� 16×10−6 
Generalized gas constant (⁠ J/mol K⁠) 8.314 

III. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

With the objective of studying in depth the evolutionary patterns of single-track and double-track molten pool development, detailed observations were made for certain specific locations in the model, as shown in Fig. 6. In this figure, P1 and P2 represent the longitudinal tangents to the centers of the two melt tracks in the XZ plane, while L1 is the transverse profile in the YZ plane. The scanning direction is positive and negative along the X axis. Points A and B are the locations of the centers of the molten pool of the first and second melt tracks, respectively (x = 1.995 × 10−4, y = 5 × 10−7, and z = −4.85 × 10−5).

FIG. 6.

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Schematic diagram of observation position.

A. Single-track simulation

A series of single-track molten pool simulation experiments were carried out in order to investigate the influence law of laser power as well as scanning speed on the HP-LPBF process. Figure 7 demonstrates the evolution of the 3D morphology and temperature field of the single-track molten pool in the time period of 50–500 μs under a laser power of 100 W and a scanning speed of 800 mm/s. The powder bed is in the natural cooling state. When t = 50 μs, the powder is heated by the laser heat and rapidly melts and settles to form the initial molten pool. This process is accompanied by partial melting of the substrate and solidification together with the melted powder. The molten pool rapidly expands with increasing width, depth, length, and temperature, as shown in Fig. 7(a). When t = 150 μs, the molten pool expands more obviously, and the temperature starts to transfer to the surrounding area, forming a heat-affected zone. At this point, the width of the molten pool tends to stabilize, and the temperature in the center of the molten pool has reached its peak and remains largely stable. However, the phenomenon of molten pool spatter was also observed in this process, as shown in Fig. 7(b). As time advances, when t = 300 μs, solidification begins to occur at the tail of the molten pool, and tiny ripples are produced on the solidified surface. This is due to the fact that the melt flows toward the region with large temperature gradient under the influence of Marangoni convection and solidifies together with the melt at the end of the bath. At this point, the temperature gradient at the front of the bath is significantly larger than at the end. While the width of the molten pool was gradually reduced, the shape of the molten pool was gradually changed to a “comet” shape. In addition, a slight depression was observed at the top of the bath because the peak temperature at the surface of the bath reached the evaporation temperature, which resulted in a recoil pressure perpendicular to the surface of the bath downward, creating a depressed region. As the laser focal spot moves and is paired with the Marangoni convection of the melt, these recessed areas will be filled in as shown in Fig. 7(c). It has been shown that the depressed regions are the result of the coupled effect of Marangoni convection, recoil pressure, and surface tension.79 By t = 500 μs, the width and height of the molten pool stabilize and show a “comet” shape in Fig. 7(d).

FIG. 7.

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Single-track molten pool process: (a) t = 50  ��⁠, (b) t = 150  ��⁠, (c) t = 300  ��⁠, (d) t = 500  ��⁠.

Figure 8 depicts the velocity vector diagram of the P1 profile in a single-track molten pool, the length of the arrows represents the magnitude of the velocity, and the maximum velocity is about 2.36 m/s. When t = 50 μs, the molten pool takes shape, and the velocities at the two ends of the pool are the largest. The variation of the velocities at the front end is especially more significant in Fig. 8(a). As the time advances to t = 150 μs, the molten pool expands rapidly, in which the velocity at the tail increases and changes more significantly, while the velocity at the front is relatively small. At this stage, the melt moves backward from the center of the molten pool, which in turn expands the molten pool area. The melt at the back end of the molten pool center flows backward along the edge of the molten pool surface and then converges along the edge of the molten pool to the bottom center, rising to form a closed loop. Similarly, a similar closed loop is formed at the front end of the center of the bath, but with a shorter path. However, a large portion of the melt in the center of the closed loop formed at the front end of the bath is in a nearly stationary state. The main cause of this melt flow phenomenon is the effect of temperature gradient and surface tension (the Marangoni effect), as shown in Figs. 8(b) and 8(e). This dynamic behavior of the melt tends to form an “elliptical” pool. At t = 300 μs, the tendency of the above two melt flows to close the loop is more prominent and faster in Fig. 8(c). When t = 500 μs, the velocity vector of the molten pool shows a stable trend, and the closed loop of melt flow also remains stable. With the gradual laser focal spot movement, the melt is gradually solidified at its tail, and finally, a continuous and stable single track is formed in Fig. 8(d).

FIG. 8.

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Vector plot of single-track molten pool velocity in XZ longitudinal section: (a) t = 50  ��⁠, (b) t = 150  ��⁠, (c) t = 300  ��⁠, (d) t = 500  ��⁠, (e) molten pool flow.

In order to explore in depth the transient evolution of the molten pool, the evolution of the single-track temperature field and the melt flow was monitored in the YZ cross section. Figure 9(a) shows the state of the powder bed at the initial moment. When t = 250 μs, the laser focal spot acts on the powder bed and the powder starts to melt and gradually collects in the molten pool. At this time, the substrate will also start to melt, and the melt flow mainly moves in the downward and outward directions and the velocity is maximum at the edges in Fig. 9(b). When t = 300 μs, the width and depth of the molten pool increase due to the recoil pressure. At this time, the melt flows more slowly at the center, but the direction of motion is still downward in Fig. 9(c). When t = 350 μs, the width and depth of the molten pool further increase, at which time the intensity of the melt flow reaches its peak and the direction of motion remains the same in Fig. 9(d). When t = 400 μs, the melt starts to move upward, and the surrounding powder or molten material gradually fills up, causing the surface of the molten pool to begin to flatten. At this time, the maximum velocity of the melt is at the center of the bath, while the velocity at the edge is close to zero, and the edge of the melt starts to solidify in Fig. 9(e). When t = 450 μs, the melt continues to move upward, forming a convex surface of the melt track. However, the melt movement slows down, as shown in Fig. 9(f). When t = 500 μs, the melt further moves upward and its speed gradually becomes smaller. At the same time, the melt solidifies further, as shown in Fig. 9(g). When t = 550 μs, the melt track is basically formed into a single track with a similar “mountain” shape. At this stage, the velocity is close to zero only at the center of the molten pool, and the flow behavior of the melt is poor in Fig. 9(h). At t = 600 μs, the melt stops moving and solidification is rapidly completed. Up to this point, a single track is formed in Fig. 9(i). During the laser action on the powder bed, the substrate melts and combines with the molten state powder. The powder-to-powder fusion is like the convergence of water droplets, which are rapidly fused by surface tension. However, the fusion between the molten state powder and the substrate occurs driven by surface tension, and the molten powder around the molten pool is pulled toward the substrate (a wetting effect occurs), which ultimately results in the formation of a monolithic whole.38,80,81

FIG. 9.

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Evolution of single-track molten pool temperature and melt flow in the YZ cross section: (a) t = 0  ��⁠, (b) t = 250  ��⁠, (c) t = 300  ��⁠, (d) t = 350  ��⁠, (e) t = 400  ��⁠, (f) t = 450  ��⁠, (g) t = 500  ��⁠, (h) t = 550  ��⁠, (i) t = 600  ��⁠.

The wetting ability between the liquid metal and the solid substrate in the molten pool directly affects the degree of balling of the melt,82,83 and the wetting ability can be measured by the contact angle of a single track in Fig. 10. A smaller value of contact angle represents better wettability. The contact angle α can be calculated by�=�1−�22,

(17)

where �1 and �2 are the contact angles of the left and right regions, respectively.

FIG. 10.

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Schematic of contact angle.

Relevant studies have confirmed that the wettability is better at a contact angle α around or below 40°.84 After measurement, a single-track contact angle α of about 33° was obtained under this process parameter, which further confirms the good wettability.

B. Double-track simulation

In order to deeply investigate the influence of hatch spacing on the characteristics of the HP-LPBF process, a series of double-track molten pool simulation experiments were systematically carried out. Figure 11 shows in detail the dynamic changes of the 3D morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool in the time period of 2050–2500 μs under the conditions of laser power of 100 W, scanning speed of 800 mm/s, and hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. By comparing the study with Fig. 7, it is observed that the basic characteristics of the 3D morphology and temperature field of the second track are similar to those of the first track. However, there are subtle differences between them. The first track exhibits a basically symmetric shape, but the second track morphology shows a slight deviation influenced by the difference in thermal diffusion rate between the solidified metal and the powder. Otherwise, the other characteristic information is almost the same as that of the first track. Figure 12 shows the velocity vector plot of the P2 profile in the double-track molten pool, with a maximum velocity of about 2.63 m/s. The melt dynamics at both ends of the pool are more stable at t = 2050 μs, where the maximum rate of the second track is only 1/3 of that of the first one. Other than that, the rest of the information is almost no significant difference from the characteristic information of the first track. Figure 13 demonstrates a detailed observation of the double-track temperature field and melts flow in the YZ cross section, and a comparative study with Fig. 9 reveals that the width of the second track is slightly wider. In addition, after the melt direction shifts from bottom to top, the first track undergoes four time periods (50 μs) to reach full solidification, while the second track takes five time periods. This is due to the presence of significant heat buildup in the powder bed after the forming of the first track, resulting in a longer dynamic time of the melt and an increased molten pool lifetime. In conclusion, the level of specimen forming can be significantly optimized by adjusting the laser power and hatch spacing.

FIG. 11.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Double-track molten pool process: (a) t = 2050  ��⁠, (b) t = 2150  ��⁠, (c) t = 2300  ��⁠, (d) t = 2500  ��⁠.

FIG. 12.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Vector plot of double-track molten pool velocity in XZ longitudinal section: (a) t = 2050  ��⁠, (b) t = 2150  ��⁠, (c) t = 2300  ��⁠, (d) t = 2500  ��⁠.

FIG. 13.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Evolution of double-track molten pool temperature and melt flow in the YZ cross section: (a) t = 2250  ��⁠, (b) t = 2300  ��⁠, (c) t = 2350  ��⁠, (d) t = 2400  ��⁠, (e) t = 2450  ��⁠, (f) t = 2500  ��⁠, (g) t = 2550  ��⁠, (h) t = 2600  ��⁠, (i) t = 2650  ��⁠.

In order to quantitatively detect the molten pool dimensions as well as the remolten region dimensions, the molten pool characterization information in Fig. 14 is constructed by drawing the boundary on the YZ cross section based on the isothermal surface of the liquid phase line. It can be observed that the heights of the first track and second track are basically the same, but the depth of the second track increases relative to the first track. The molten pool width is mainly positively correlated with the laser power as well as the scanning speed (the laser line energy density �⁠). However, the remelted zone width is negatively correlated with the hatch spacing (the overlapping ratio). Overall, the forming quality of the specimens can be directly influenced by adjusting the laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing.

FIG. 14.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Double-track molten pool characterization information on YZ cross section.

In order to study the variation rule of the temperature in the center of the molten pool with time, Fig. 15 demonstrates the temperature variation curves with time for two reference points, A and B. Among them, the red dotted line indicates the liquid phase line temperature of SS316L. From the figure, it can be seen that the maximum temperature at the center of the molten pool in the first track is lower than that in the second track, which is mainly due to the heat accumulation generated after passing through the first track. The maximum temperature gradient was calculated to be 1.69 × 108 K/s. When the laser scanned the first track, the temperature in the center of the molten pool of the second track increased slightly. Similarly, when the laser scanned the second track, a similar situation existed in the first track. Since the temperature gradient in the second track is larger than that in the first track, the residence time of the liquid phase in the molten pool of the first track is longer than that of the second track.

FIG. 15.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Temperature profiles as a function of time for two reference points A and B.

C. Simulation analysis of molten pool under different process parameters

In order to deeply investigate the effects of various process parameters on the mesoscopic-scale temperature field, molten pool characteristic information and defects of HP-LPBF, numerical simulation experiments on mesoscopic-scale laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing of double-track molten pools were carried out.

1. Laser power

Figure 16 shows the effects of different laser power on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool at a scanning speed of 800 mm/s and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. When P = 50 W, a smaller molten pool is formed due to the lower heat generated by the Gaussian light source per unit time. This leads to a smaller track width, which results in adjacent track not lapping properly and the presence of a large number of unmelted powder particles, resulting in an increase in the number of defects, such as pores in the specimen. The surface of the track is relatively flat, and the depth is small. In addition, the temperature gradient before and after the molten pool was large, and the depression location appeared at the biased front end in Fig. 16(a). When P = 100 W, the surface of the track is flat and smooth with excellent lap. Due to the Marangoni effect, the velocity field of the molten pool is in the form of “vortex,” and the melt has good fluidity, and the maximum velocity reaches 2.15 m/s in Fig. 16(b). When P = 200 W, the heat generated by the Gaussian light source per unit time is too large, resulting in the melt rapidly reaching the evaporation temperature, generating a huge recoil pressure, forming a large molten pool, and the surface of the track is obviously raised. The melt movement is intense, especially the closed loop at the center end of the molten pool. At this time, the depth and width of the molten pool are large, leading to the expansion of the remolten region and the increased chance of the appearance of porosity defects in Fig. 16(c). The results show that at low laser power, the surface tension in the molten pool is dominant. At high laser power, recoil pressure is its main role.

FIG. 16.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Simulation results of double-track molten pool under different laser powers: (a) P = 50 W, (b) P = 100 W, (c) P = 200 W.

Table II shows the effect of different laser powers on the characteristic information of the double-track molten pool at a scanning speed of 800 mm/s and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. The negative overlapping ratio in the table indicates that the melt tracks are not lapped, and 26/29 indicates the melt depth of the first track/second track. It can be seen that with the increase in laser power, the melt depth, melt width, melt height, and remelted zone show a gradual increase. At the same time, the overlapping ratio also increases. Especially in the process of laser power from 50 to 200 W, the melting depth and melting width increased the most, which increased nearly 2 and 1.5 times, respectively. Meanwhile, the overlapping ratio also increases with the increase in laser power, which indicates that the melting and fusion of materials are better at high laser power. On the other hand, the dimensions of the molten pool did not change uniformly with the change of laser power. Specifically, the depth-to-width ratio of the molten pool increased from about 0.30 to 0.39 during the increase from 50 to 120 W, which further indicates that the effective heat transfer in the vertical direction is greater than that in the horizontal direction with the increase in laser power. This dimensional response to laser power is mainly affected by the recoil pressure and also by the difference in the densification degree between the powder layer and the metal substrate. In addition, according to the experimental results, the contact angle shows a tendency to increase and then decrease during the process of laser power increase, and always stays within the range of less than 33°. Therefore, in practical applications, it is necessary to select the appropriate laser power according to the specific needs in order to achieve the best processing results.

TABLE II.

Double-track molten pool characterization information at different laser powers.

Laser power (W)Depth (μm)Width (μm)Height (μm)Remolten region (μm)Overlapping ratio (%)Contact angle (°)
50 16 54 11 −10 23 
100 26/29 74 14 18 23.33 33 
200 37/45 116 21 52 93.33 28 

2. Scanning speed

Figure 17 demonstrates the effect of different scanning speeds on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool at a laser power of 100 W and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. With the gradual increase in scanning speed, the surface morphology of the molten pool evolves from circular to elliptical. When � = 200 mm/s, the slow scanning speed causes the material to absorb too much heat, which is very easy to trigger the overburning phenomenon. At this point, the molten pool is larger and the surface morphology is uneven. This situation is consistent with the previously discussed scenario with high laser power in Fig. 17(a). However, when � = 1600 mm/s, the scanning speed is too fast, resulting in the material not being able to absorb sufficient heat, which triggers the powder particles that fail to melt completely to have a direct effect on the bonding of the melt to the substrate. At this time, the molten pool volume is relatively small and the neighboring melt track cannot lap properly. This result is consistent with the previously discussed case of low laser power in Fig. 17(b). Overall, the ratio of the laser power to the scanning speed (the line energy density �⁠) has a direct effect on the temperature field and surface morphology of the molten pool.

FIG. 17.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Simulation results of double-track molten pool under different scanning speed: (a)  � = 200 mm/s, (b)  � = 1600 mm/s.

Table III shows the effects of different scanning speed on the characteristic information of the double-track molten pool under the condition of laser power of 100 W and hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. It can be seen that the scanning speed has a significant effect on the melt depth, melt width, melt height, remolten region, and overlapping ratio. With the increase in scanning speed, the melt depth, melt width, melt height, remelted zone, and overlapping ratio show a gradual decreasing trend. Among them, the melt depth and melt width decreased faster, while the melt height and remolten region decreased relatively slowly. In addition, when the scanning speed was increased from 200 to 800 mm/s, the decreasing speeds of melt depth and melt width were significantly accelerated, while the decreasing speeds of overlapping ratio were relatively slow. When the scanning speed was further increased to 1600 mm/s, the decreasing speeds of melt depth and melt width were further accelerated, and the un-lapped condition of the melt channel also appeared. In addition, the contact angle increases and then decreases with the scanning speed, and both are lower than 33°. Therefore, when selecting the scanning speed, it is necessary to make reasonable trade-offs according to the specific situation, and take into account the factors of melt depth, melt width, melt height, remolten region, and overlapping ratio, in order to achieve the best processing results.

TABLE III.

Double-track molten pool characterization information at different scanning speeds.

Scanning speed (mm/s)Depth (μm)Width (μm)Height (μm)Remolten region (μm)Overlapping ratio (%)Contact angle (°)
200 55/68 182 19/32 124 203.33 22 
1600 13 50 11 −16.67 31 

3. Hatch spacing

Figure 18 shows the effect of different hatch spacing on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool under the condition of laser power of 100 W and scanning speed of 800 mm/s. The surface morphology and temperature field of the first track and second track are basically the same, but slightly different. The first track shows a basically symmetric morphology along the scanning direction, while the second track shows a slight offset due to the difference in the heat transfer rate between the solidified material and the powder particles. When the hatch spacing is too small, the overlapping ratio increases and the probability of defects caused by remelting phenomenon grows. When the hatch spacing is too large, the neighboring melt track cannot overlap properly, and the powder particles are not completely melted, leading to an increase in the number of holes. In conclusion, the ratio of the line energy density � to the hatch spacing (the volume energy density E) has a significant effect on the temperature field and surface morphology of the molten pool.

FIG. 18.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Simulation results of double-track molten pool under different hatch spacings: (a) H = 0.03 mm, (b) H = 0.12 mm.

Table IV shows the effects of different hatch spacing on the characteristic information of the double-track molten pool under the condition of laser power of 100 W and scanning speed of 800 mm/s. It can be seen that the hatch spacing has little effect on the melt depth, melt width, and melt height, but has some effect on the remolten region. With the gradual expansion of hatch spacing, the remolten region shows a gradual decrease. At the same time, the overlapping ratio also decreased with the increase in hatch spacing. In addition, it is observed that the contact angle shows a tendency to increase and then remain stable when the hatch spacing increases, which has a more limited effect on it. Therefore, trade-offs and decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis when selecting the hatch spacing.

TABLE IV.

Double-track molten pool characterization information at different hatch spacings.

Hatch spacing (mm)Depth (μm)Width (μm)Height (μm)Remolten region (μm)Overlapping ratio (%)Contact angle (°)
0.03 25/27 82 14 59 173.33 30 
0.12 26 78 14 −35 33 

In summary, the laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing have a significant effect on the formation of the molten pool, and the correct selection of these three process parameters is crucial to ensure the forming quality. In addition, the melt depth of the second track is slightly larger than that of the first track at higher line energy density � and volume energy density E. This is mainly due to the fact that a large amount of heat accumulation is generated after the first track, forming a larger molten pool volume, which leads to an increase in the melt depth.

D. Simulation analysis of molten pool with powder particle size and laser focal spot diameter

Figure 19 demonstrates the effect of different powder particle sizes and laser focal spot diameters on the morphology and temperature field of the double-track molten pool under a laser power of 100 W, a scanning speed of 800 mm/s, and a hatch spacing of 0.06 mm. In the process of melting coarse powder with small laser focal spot diameter, the laser energy cannot completely melt the larger powder particles, resulting in their partial melting and further generating excessive pore defects. The larger powder particles tend to generate zigzag molten pool edges, which cause an increase in the roughness of the melt track surface. In addition, the molten pool is also prone to generate the present spatter phenomenon, which can directly affect the quality of forming. The volume of the formed molten pool is relatively small, while the melt depth, melt width, and melt height are all smaller relative to the fine powder in Fig. 19(a). In the process of melting fine powders with a large laser focal spot diameter, the laser energy is able to melt the fine powder particles sufficiently, even to the point of overmelting. This results in a large number of fine spatters being generated at the edge of the molten pool, which causes porosity defects in the melt track in Fig. 19(b). In addition, the maximum velocity of the molten pool is larger for large powder particle sizes compared to small powder particle sizes, which indicates that the temperature gradient in the molten pool is larger for large powder particle sizes and the melt motion is more intense. However, the size of the laser focal spot diameter has a relatively small effect on the melt motion. However, a larger focal spot diameter induces a larger melt volume with greater depth, width, and height. In conclusion, a small powder size helps to reduce the surface roughness of the specimen, and a small laser spot diameter reduces the minimum forming size of a single track.

FIG. 19.

VIEW LARGEDOWNLOAD SLIDE

Simulation results of double-track molten pool with different powder particle size and laser focal spot diameter: (a) focal spot = 25 μm, coarse powder, (b) focal spot = 80 μm, fine powder.

Table V shows the maximum temperature gradient at the reference point for different powder sizes and laser focal spot diameters. As can be seen from the table, the maximum temperature gradient is lower than that of HP-LPBF for both coarse powders with a small laser spot diameter and fine powders with a large spot diameter, a phenomenon that leads to an increase in the heat transfer rate of HP-LPBF, which in turn leads to a corresponding increase in the cooling rate and, ultimately, to the formation of finer microstructures.

TABLE V.

Maximum temperature gradient at the reference point for different powder particle sizes and laser focal spot diameters.

Laser power (W)Scanning speed (mm/s)Hatch spacing (mm)Average powder size (μm)Laser focal spot diameter (μm)Maximum temperature gradient (×107 K/s)
100 800 0.06 31.7 25 7.89 
11.5 80 7.11 

IV. CONCLUSIONS

In this study, the geometrical characteristics of 3D coarse and fine powder particles were first calculated using DEM and then numerical simulations of single track and double track in the process of forming SS316L from monolayer HP-LPBF at mesoscopic scale were developed using CFD method. The effects of Marangoni convection, surface tension, recoil pressure, gravity, thermal convection, thermal radiation, and evaporative heat dissipation on the heat and mass transfer in the molten pool were considered in this model. The effects of laser power, scanning speed, and hatch spacing on the dynamics of the single-track and double-track molten pools, as well as on other characteristic information, were investigated. The effects of the powder particle size on the molten pool were investigated comparatively with the laser focal spot diameter. The main conclusions are as follows:

  1. The results show that the temperature gradient at the front of the molten pool is significantly larger than that at the tail, and the molten pool exhibits a “comet” morphology. At the top of the molten pool, there is a slightly concave region, which is the result of the coupling of Marangoni convection, recoil pressure, and surface tension. The melt flow forms two closed loops, which are mainly influenced by temperature gradients and surface tension. This special dynamic behavior of the melt tends to form an “elliptical” molten pool and an almost “mountain” shape in single-track forming.
  2. The basic characteristics of the three-dimensional morphology and temperature field of the second track are similar to those of the first track, but there are subtle differences. The first track exhibits a basically symmetrical shape; however, due to the difference in thermal diffusion rates between the solidified metal and the powder, a slight asymmetry in the molten pool morphology of the second track occurs. After forming through the first track, there is a significant heat buildup in the powder bed, resulting in a longer dynamic time of the melt, which increases the life of the molten pool. The heights of the first track and second track remained essentially the same, but the depth of the second track was greater relative to the first track. In addition, the maximum temperature gradient was 1.69 × 108 K/s during HP-LPBF forming.
  3. At low laser power, the surface tension in the molten pool plays a dominant role. At high laser power, recoil pressure becomes the main influencing factor. With the increase of laser power, the effective heat transfer in the vertical direction is superior to that in the horizontal direction. With the gradual increase of scanning speed, the surface morphology of the molten pool evolves from circular to elliptical. In addition, the scanning speed has a significant effect on the melt depth, melt width, melt height, remolten region, and overlapping ratio. Too large or too small hatch spacing will lead to remelting or non-lap phenomenon, which in turn causes the formation of defects.
  4. When using a small laser focal spot diameter, it is difficult to completely melt large powder particle sizes, resulting in partial melting and excessive porosity generation. At the same time, large powder particles produce curved edges of the molten pool, resulting in increased surface roughness of the melt track. In addition, spatter occurs, which directly affects the forming quality. At small focal spot diameters, the molten pool volume is relatively small, and the melt depth, the melt width, and the melt height are correspondingly small. Taken together, the small powder particle size helps to reduce surface roughness, while the small spot diameter reduces the forming size.

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Figura 1 – Mapa de localização da PCH Salto Paraopeba

하천 저수지 물리적 모델의 침적 과정에 대한 전산 유체 역학 모델링(CFD) 기준

Natália Melo da Silva1 1; Jorge Luis Zegarra Tarqui2,Edna Maria de Faria Viana 3

Abstract

저수지 침전은 수력 발전의 지속 가능한 발전을 위한 주요 문제 중 하나이며 브라질에 매우 중요합니다. 브라질의 주요 에너지원은 수력발전소에서 나옵니다. 소규모 수력 발전소(SHP)는 재생 에너지의 보완적 발전을 위한 중요한 대안입니다.

이들의 설계, 건설, 운영 및 재동력을 최적화하기 위해 저수지 내 퇴적물의 유체 역학 및 이동을 연구하는 것이 매우 중요합니다.

3차원 전산유체역학 – CFD 3D 모델링은 복잡한 흐름 문제에 가장 적합한 방법입니다. 제안된 방법은 MG Jeceaba 자치구에 위치한 PCH Salto Paraopeba의 유체 역학 및 퇴적물 이동 현상을 재현하고 평가하는 것을 목표로 하며, 취수구의 완전한 침전으로 인해 작동이 중단되었습니다.

모델의 검증은 미나스제라이스 연방대학교의 수력학 연구 센터(CPH)에 구축된 축소된 물리적 모델의 실험 데이터를 사용하여 수행됩니다.

Abstract: The reservoir silting is one of the main problems for sustainable development in the
generation of hydroelectric energy and it is of great significance for Brazil. The main source of energy
in Brazil comes from hydroelectric power plant. The Small Hydroelectric Power Plant (SHP) are an
important alternative for complementary generation of renewable energy.
Seeking to optimize the design, construction, operation, and repowering of these, it is extremely
important to study the hydrodynamics and transport of sediments in their reservoirs. Threedimensional Computational Fluid Dynamics – CFD 3D modeling is the most appropriate method for
complex flow problems. The proposed method aims to reproduce and evaluate the hydrodynamic and
sediment transport phenomena of the PCH Salto Paraopeba, located in the municipality of Jeceaba,
MG, which stopped working due to the complete silting up of its water intake. The validation of the
model will be done using experimental data from the reduced physical model, built at the Hydraulic
Research Center (CPH) at the Federal University of Minas Gerais.

Keywords

퇴적물 수송, 물리적 모델, 소규모 수력 발전소, Sediment transport, physical model, Small Hydroelectric Power Plant.

Figura 1 – Mapa de localização da PCH Salto Paraopeba
Figura 1 – Mapa de localização da PCH Salto Paraopeba
Figura 2 – PCH Salto Paraopeba e modelo reduzido.
Figura 2 – PCH Salto Paraopeba e modelo reduzido.

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Predicting solid-state phase transformations during metal additive manufacturing: A case study on electron-beam powder bed fusion of Inconel-738

Predicting solid-state phase transformations during metal additive manufacturing: A case study on electron-beam powder bed fusion of Inconel-738

금속 적층 제조 중 고체 상 변형 예측: Inconel-738의 전자빔 분말층 융합에 대한 사례 연구

Nana Kwabena Adomako a, Nima Haghdadi a, James F.L. Dingle bc, Ernst Kozeschnik d, Xiaozhou Liao bc, Simon P. Ringer bc, Sophie Primig a

Abstract

Metal additive manufacturing (AM) has now become the perhaps most desirable technique for producing complex shaped engineering parts. However, to truly take advantage of its capabilities, advanced control of AM microstructures and properties is required, and this is often enabled via modeling. The current work presents a computational modeling approach to studying the solid-state phase transformation kinetics and the microstructural evolution during AM. Our approach combines thermal and thermo-kinetic modelling. A semi-analytical heat transfer model is employed to simulate the thermal history throughout AM builds. Thermal profiles of individual layers are then used as input for the MatCalc thermo-kinetic software. The microstructural evolution (e.g., fractions, morphology, and composition of individual phases) for any region of interest throughout the build is predicted by MatCalc. The simulation is applied to an IN738 part produced by electron beam powder bed fusion to provide insights into how γ′ precipitates evolve during thermal cycling. Our simulations show qualitative agreement with our experimental results in predicting the size distribution of γ′ along the build height, its multimodal size character, as well as the volume fraction of MC carbides. Our findings indicate that our method is suitable for a range of AM processes and alloys, to predict and engineer their microstructures and properties.

Graphical Abstract

ga1

Keywords

Additive manufacturing, Simulation, Thermal cycles, γ′ phase, IN738

1. Introduction

Additive manufacturing (AM) is an advanced manufacturing method that enables engineering parts with intricate shapes to be fabricated with high efficiency and minimal materials waste. AM involves building up 3D components layer-by-layer from feedstocks such as powder [1]. Various alloys, including steel, Ti, Al, and Ni-based superalloys, have been produced using different AM techniques. These techniques include directed energy deposition (DED), electron- and laser powder bed fusion (E-PBF and L-PBF), and have found applications in a variety of industries such as aerospace and power generation [2][3][4]. Despite the growing interest, certain challenges limit broader applications of AM fabricated components in these industries and others. One of such limitations is obtaining a suitable and reproducible microstructure that offers the desired mechanical properties consistently. In fact, the AM as-built microstructure is highly complex and considerably distinctive from its conventionally processed counterparts owing to the complicated thermal cycles arising from the deposition of several layers upon each other [5][6].

Several studies have reported that the solid-state phases and solidification microstructure of AM processed alloys such as CMSX-4, CoCr [7][8], Ti-6Al-4V [9][10][11]IN738 [6]304L stainless steel [12], and IN718 [13][14] exhibit considerable variations along the build direction. For instance, references [9][10] have reported that there is a variation in the distribution of α and β phases along the build direction in Ti-alloys. Similarly, the microstructure of an L-PBF fabricated martensitic steel exhibits variations in the fraction of martensite [15]. Furthermore, some of the present authors and others [6][16][17][18][19][20] have recently reviewed and reported that there is a difference in the morphology and fraction of nanoscale precipitates as a function of build height in Ni-based superalloys. These non-uniformities in the as-built microstructure result in an undesired heterogeneity in mechanical and other important properties such as corrosion and oxidation [19][21][22][23]. To obtain the desired microstructure and properties, additional processing treatments are utilized, but this incurs extra costs and may lead to precipitation of detrimental phases and grain coarsening. Therefore, a through-process understanding of the microstructure evolution under repeated heating and cooling is now needed to further advance 3D printed microstructure and property control.

It is now commonly understood that the microstructure evolution during printing is complex, and most AM studies concentrate on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the final build only. Post-printing studies of microstructure characteristics at room temperature miss crucial information on how they evolve. In-situ measurements and modelling approaches are required to better understand the complex microstructural evolution under repeated heating and cooling. Most in-situ measurements in AM focus on monitoring the microstructural changes, such as phase transformations and melt pool dynamics during fabrication using X-ray scattering and high-speed X-ray imaging [24][25][26][27]. For example, Zhao et al. [25] measured the rate of solidification and described the α/β phase transformation during L-PBF of Ti-6Al-4V in-situ. Also, Wahlmann et al. [21] recently used an L-PBF machine coupled with X-ray scattering to investigate the changes in CMSX-4 phase during successive melting processes. Although these techniques provide significant understanding of the basic principles of AM, they are not widely accessible. This is due to the great cost of the instrument, competitive application process, and complexities in terms of the experimental set-up, data collection, and analysis [26][28].

Computational modeling techniques are promising and more widely accessible tools that enable advanced understanding, prediction, and engineering of microstructures and properties during AM. So far, the majority of computational studies have concentrated on physics based process models for metal AM, with the goal of predicting the temperature profile, heat transfer, powder dynamics, and defect formation (e.g., porosity) [29][30]. In recent times, there have been efforts in modeling of the AM microstructure evolution using approaches such as phase-field [31], Monte Carlo (MC) [32], and cellular automata (CA) [33], coupled with finite element simulations for temperature profiles. However, these techniques are often restricted to simulating the evolution of solidification microstructures (e.g., grain and dendrite structure) and defects (e.g., porosity). For example, Zinovieva et al. [33] predicted the grain structure of L-PBF Ti-6Al-4V using finite difference and cellular automata methods. However, studies on the computational modelling of the solid-state phase transformations, which largely determine the resulting properties, remain limited. This can be attributed to the multi-component and multi-phase nature of most engineering alloys in AM, along with the complex transformation kinetics during thermal cycling. This kind of research involves predictions of the thermal cycle in AM builds, and connecting it to essential thermodynamic and kinetic data as inputs for the model. Based on the information provided, the thermokinetic model predicts the history of solid-state phase microstructure evolution during deposition as output. For example, a multi-phase, multi-component mean-field model has been developed to simulate the intermetallic precipitation kinetics in IN718 [34] and IN625 [35] during AM. Also, Basoalto et al. [36] employed a computational framework to examine the contrasting distributions of process-induced microvoids and precipitates in two Ni-based superalloys, namely IN718 and CM247LC. Furthermore, McNamara et al. [37] established a computational model based on the Johnson-Mehl-Avrami model for non-isothermal conditions to predict solid-state phase transformation kinetics in L-PBF IN718 and DED Ti-6Al-4V. These models successfully predicted the size and volume fraction of individual phases and captured the repeated nucleation and dissolution of precipitates that occur during AM.

In the current study, we propose a modeling approach with appreciably short computational time to investigate the detailed microstructural evolution during metal AM. This may include obtaining more detailed information on the morphologies of phases, such as size distribution, phase fraction, dissolution and nucleation kinetics, as well as chemistry during thermal cycling and final cooling to room temperature. We utilize the combination of the MatCalc thermo-kinetic simulator and a semi-analytical heat conduction model. MatCalc is a software suite for simulation of phase transformations, microstructure evolution and certain mechanical properties in engineering alloys. It has successfully been employed to simulate solid-state phase transformations in Ni-based superalloys [38][39], steels [40], and Al alloys [41] during complex thermo-mechanical processes. MatCalc uses the classical nucleation theory as well as the so-called Svoboda-Fischer-Fratzl-Kozeschnik (SFFK) growth model as the basis for simulating precipitation kinetics [42]. Although MatCalc was originally developed for conventional thermo-mechanical processes, we will show that it is also applicable for AM if the detailed time-temperature profile of the AM build is known. The semi-analytical heat transfer code developed by Stump and Plotkowski [43] is used to simulate these profile throughout the AM build.

1.1. Application to IN738

Inconel-738 (IN738) is a precipitation hardening Ni-based superalloy mainly employed in high-temperature components, e.g. in gas turbines and aero-engines owing to its exceptional mechanical properties at temperatures up to 980 °C, coupled with high resistance to oxidation and corrosion [44]. Its superior high-temperature strength (∼1090 MPa tensile strength) is provided by the L12 ordered Ni3(Al,Ti) γ′ phase that precipitates in a face-centered cubic (FCC) γ matrix [45][46]. Despite offering great properties, IN738, like most superalloys with high γ′ fractions, is challenging to process owing to its propensity to hot cracking [47][48]. Further, machining of such alloys is challenging because of their high strength and work-hardening rates. It is therefore difficult to fabricate complex INC738 parts using traditional manufacturing techniques like casting, welding, and forging.

The emergence of AM has now made it possible to fabricate such parts from IN738 and other superalloys. Some of the current authors’ recent research successfully applied E-PBF to fabricate defect-free IN738 containing γ′ throughout the build [16][17]. The precipitated γ′ were heterogeneously distributed. In particular, Haghdadi et al. [16] studied the origin of the multimodal size distribution of γ′, while Lim et al. [17] investigated the gradient in γ′ character with build height and its correlation to mechanical properties. Based on these results, the present study aims to extend the understanding of the complex and site-specific microstructural evolution in E-PBF IN738 by using a computational modelling approach. New experimental evidence (e.g., micrographs not published previously) is presented here to support the computational results.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Materials preparation

IN738 Ni-based superalloy (59.61Ni-8.48Co-7.00Al-17.47Cr-3.96Ti-1.01Mo-0.81W-0.56Ta-0.49Nb-0.47C-0.09Zr-0.05B, at%) gas-atomized powder was used as feedstock. The powders, with average size of 60 ± 7 µm, were manufactured by Praxair and distributed by Astro Alloys Inc. An Arcam Q10 machine by GE Additive with an acceleration voltage of 60 kV was used to fabricate a 15 × 15 × 25 mm3 block (XYZ, Z: build direction) on a 316 stainless steel substrate. The block was 3D-printed using a ‘random’ spot melt pattern. The random spot melt pattern involves randomly selecting points in any given layer, with an equal chance of each point being melted. Each spot melt experienced a dwell time of 0.3 ms, and the layer thickness was 50 µm. Some of the current authors have previously characterized the microstructure of the very same and similar builds in more detail [16][17]. A preheat temperature of ∼1000 °C was set and kept during printing to reduce temperature gradients and, in turn, thermal stresses [49][50][51]. Following printing, the build was separated from the substrate through electrical discharge machining. It should be noted that this sample was simultaneously printed with the one used in [17] during the same build process and on the same build plate, under identical conditions.

2.2. Microstructural characterization

The printed sample was longitudinally cut in the direction of the build using a Struers Accutom-50, ground, and then polished to 0.25 µm suspension via standard techniques. The polished x-z surface was electropolished and etched using Struers A2 solution (perchloric acid in ethanol). Specimens for image analysis were polished using a 0.06 µm colloidal silica. Microstructure analyses were carried out across the height of the build using optical microscopy (OM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with focus on the microstructure evolution (γ′ precipitates) in individual layers. The position of each layer being analyzed was determined by multiplying the layer number by the layer thickness (50 µm). It should be noted that the position of the first layer starts where the thermal profile is tracked (in this case, 2 mm from the bottom). SEM images were acquired using a JEOL 7001 field emission microscope. The brightness and contrast settings, acceleration voltage of 15 kV, working distance of 10 mm, and other SEM imaging parameters were all held constant for analysis of the entire build. The ImageJ software was used for automated image analysis to determine the phase fraction and size of γ′ precipitates and carbides. A 2-pixel radius Gaussian blur, following a greyscale thresholding and watershed segmentation was used [52]. Primary γ′ sizes (>50 nm), were measured using equivalent spherical diameters. The phase fractions were considered equal to the measured area fraction. Secondary γ′ particles (<50 nm) were not considered here. The γ′ size in the following refers to the diameter of a precipitate.

2.3. Hardness testing

A Struers DuraScan tester was utilized for Vickers hardness mapping on a polished x-z surface, from top to bottom under a maximum load of 100 mN and 10 s dwell time. 30 micro-indentations were performed per row. According to the ASTM standard [53], the indentations were sufficiently distant (∼500 µm) to assure that strain-hardened areas did not interfere with one another.

2.4. Computational simulation of E-PBF IN738 build

2.4.1. Thermal profile modeling

The thermal history was generated using the semi-analytical heat transfer code (also known as the 3DThesis code) developed by Stump and Plotkowski [43]. This code is an open-source C++ program which provides a way to quickly simulate the conductive heat transfer found in welding and AM. The key use case for the code is the simulation of larger domains than is practicable with Computational Fluid Dynamics/Finite Element Analysis programs like FLOW-3D AM. Although simulating conductive heat transfer will not be an appropriate simplification for some investigations (for example the modelling of keyholding or pore formation), the 3DThesis code does provide fast estimates of temperature, thermal gradient, and solidification rate which can be useful for elucidating microstructure formation across entire layers of an AM build. The mathematics involved in the code is as follows:

In transient thermal conduction during welding and AM, with uniform and constant thermophysical properties and without considering fluid convection and latent heat effects, energy conservation can be expressed as:(1)��∂�∂�=�∇2�+�̇where � is density, � specific heat, � temperature, � time, � thermal conductivity, and �̇ a volumetric heat source. By assuming a semi-infinite domain, Eq. 1 can be analytically solved. The solution for temperature at a given time (t) using a volumetric Gaussian heat source is presented as:(2)��,�,�,�−�0=33�����32∫0�1������exp−3�′�′2��+�′�′2��+�′�′2����′(3)and��=12��−�′+��2for�=�,�,�(4)and�′�′=�−���′Where � is the vector �,�,� and �� is the location of the heat source.

The numerical integration scheme used is an adaptive Gaussian quadrature method based on the following nondimensionalization:(5)�=��xy2�,�′=��xy2�′,�=��xy,�=��xy,�=��xy,�=���xy

A more detailed explanation of the mathematics can be found in reference [43].

The main source of the thermal cycling present within a powder-bed fusion process is the fusion of subsequent layers. Therefore, regions near the top of a build are expected to undergo fewer thermal cycles than those closer to the bottom. For this purpose, data from the single scan’s thermal influence on multiple layers was spliced to represent the thermal cycles experienced at a single location caused by multiple subsequent layers being fused.

The cross-sectional area simulated by this model was kept constant at 1 × 1 mm2, and the depth was dependent on the build location modelled with MatCalc. For a build location 2 mm from the bottom, the maximum number of layers to simulate is 460. Fig. 1a shows a stitched overview OM image of the entire build indicating the region where this thermal cycle is simulated and tracked. To increase similarity with the conditions of the physical build, each thermal history was constructed from the results of two simulations generated with different versions of a random scan path. The parameters used for these thermal simulations can be found in Table 1. It should be noted that the main purpose of the thermal profile modelling was to demonstrate how the conditions at different locations of the build change relative to each other. Accurately predicting the absolute temperature during the build would require validation via a temperature sensor measurement during the build process which is beyond the scope of the study. Nonetheless, to establish the viability of the heat source as a suitable approximation for this study, an additional sensitivity analysis was conducted. This analysis focused on the influence of energy input on γ′ precipitation behavior, the central aim of this paper. This was achieved by employing varying beam absorption energies (0.76, 0.82 – the values utilized in the simulation, and 0.9). The direct impact of beam absorption efficiency on energy input into the material was investigated. Specifically, the initial 20 layers of the build were simulated and subsequently compared to experimental data derived from SEM. While phase fractions were found to be consistent across all conditions, disparities emerged in the mean size of γ′ precipitates. An absorption efficiency of 0.76 yielded a mean size of approximately 70 nm. Conversely, absorption efficiencies of 0.82 and 0.9 exhibited remarkably similar mean sizes of around 130 nm, aligning closely with the outcomes of the experiments.

Fig. 1

Table 1. A list of parameters used in thermal simulation of E-PBF.

ParameterValue
Spatial resolution5 µm
Time step0.5 s
Beam diameter200 µm
Beam penetration depth1 µm
Beam power1200 W
Beam absorption efficiency0.82
Thermal conductivity25.37 W/(m⋅K)
Chamber temperature1000 °C
Specific heat711.756 J/(kg⋅K)
Density8110 kg/m3

2.4.2. Thermo-kinetic simulation

The numerical analyses of the evolution of precipitates was performed using MatCalc version 6.04 (rel 0.011). The thermodynamic (‘mc_ni.tdb’, version 2.034) and diffusion (‘mc_ni.ddb’, version 2.007) databases were used. MatCalc’s basic principles are elaborated as follows:

The nucleation kinetics of precipitates are computed using a computational technique based on a classical nucleation theory [54] that has been modified for systems with multiple components [42][55]. Accordingly, the transient nucleation rate (�), which expresses the rate at which nuclei are formed per unit volume and time, is calculated as:(6)�=�0��*∙�xp−�*�∙�∙exp−��where �0 denotes the number of active nucleation sites, �* the rate of atomic attachment, � the Boltzmann constant, � the temperature, �* the critical energy for nucleus formation, τ the incubation time, and t the time. � (Zeldovich factor) takes into consideration that thermal excitation destabilizes the nucleus as opposed to its inactive state [54]. Z is defined as follows:(7)�=−12�kT∂2∆�∂�2�*12where ∆� is the overall change in free energy due to the formation of a nucleus and n is the nucleus’ number of atoms. ∆�’s derivative is evaluated at n* (critical nucleus size). �* accounts for the long-range diffusion of atoms required for nucleation, provided that the matrix’ and precipitates’ composition differ. Svoboda et al. [42] developed an appropriate multi-component equation for �*, which is given by:(8)�*=4��*2�4�∑�=1��ki−�0�2�0��0�−1where �* denotes the critical radius for nucleation, � represents atomic distance, and � is the molar volume. �ki and �0� represent the concentration of elements in the precipitate and matrix, respectively. The parameter �0� denotes the rate of diffusion of the ith element within the matrix. The expression for the incubation time � is expressed as [54]:(9)�=12�*�2

and �*, which represents the critical energy for nucleation:(10)�*=16�3�3∆�vol2where � is the interfacial energy, and ∆Gvol the change in the volume free energy. The critical nucleus’ composition is similar to the γ′ phase’s equilibrium composition at the same temperature. � is computed based on the precipitate and matrix compositions, using a generalized nearest neighbor broken bond model, with the assumption of interfaces being planar, sharp, and coherent [56][57][58].

In Eq. 7, it is worth noting that �* represents the fundamental variable in the nucleation theory. It contains �3/∆�vol2 and is in the exponent of the nucleation rate. Therefore, even small variations in γ and/or ∆�vol can result in notable changes in �, especially if �* is in the order of �∙�. This is demonstrated in [38] for UDIMET 720 Li during continuous cooling, where these quantities change steadily during precipitation due to their dependence on matrix’ and precipitate’s temperature and composition. In the current work, these changes will be even more significant as the system is exposed to multiple cycles of rapid cooling and heating.

Once nucleated, the growth of a precipitate is assessed using the radius and composition evolution equations developed by Svoboda et al. [42] with a mean-field method that employs the thermodynamic extremal principle. The expression for the total Gibbs free energy of a thermodynamic system G, which consists of n components and m precipitates, is given as follows:(11)�=∑���0��0�+∑�=1�4���33��+∑�=1��ki�ki+∑�=1�4���2��.

The chemical potential of component � in the matrix is denoted as �0�(�=1,…,�), while the chemical potential of component � in the precipitate is represented by �ki(�=1,…,�,�=1,…,�). These chemical potentials are defined as functions of the concentrations �ki(�=1,…,�,�=1,…,�). The interface energy density is denoted as �, and �� incorporates the effects of elastic energy and plastic work resulting from the volume change of each precipitate.

Eq. (12) establishes that the total free energy of the system in its current state relies on the independent state variables: the sizes (radii) of the precipitates �� and the concentrations of each component �ki. The remaining variables can be determined by applying the law of mass conservation to each component �. This can be represented by the equation:(12)��=�0�+∑�=1�4���33�ki,

Furthermore, the global mass conservation can be expressed by equation:(13)�=∑�=1���When a thermodynamic system transitions to a more stable state, the energy difference between the initial and final stages is dissipated. This model considers three distinct forms of dissipation effects [42]. These include dissipations caused by the movement of interfaces, diffusion within the precipitate and diffusion within the matrix.

Consequently, �̇� (growth rate) and �̇ki (chemical composition’s rate of change) of the precipitate with index � are derived from the linear system of equation system:(14)�ij��=��where �� symbolizes the rates �̇� and �̇ki [42]. Index i contains variables for precipitate radius, chemical composition, and stoichiometric boundary conditions suggested by the precipitate’s crystal structure. Eq. (10) is computed separately for every precipitate �. For a more detailed description of the formulae for the coefficients �ij and �� employed in this work please refer to [59].

The MatCalc software was used to perform the numerical time integration of �̇� and �̇ki of precipitates based on the classical numerical method by Kampmann and Wagner [60]. Detailed information on this method can be found in [61]. Using this computational method, calculations for E-PBF thermal cycles (cyclic heating and cooling) were computed and compared to experimental data. The simulation took approximately 2–4 hrs to complete on a standard laptop.

3. Results

3.1. Microstructure

Fig. 1 displays a stitched overview image and selected SEM micrographs of various γ′ morphologies and carbides after observations of the X-Z surface of the build from the top to 2 mm above the bottom. Fig. 2 depicts a graph that charts the average size and phase fraction of the primary γ′, as it changes with distance from the top to the bottom of the build. The SEM micrographs show widespread primary γ′ precipitation throughout the entire build, with the size increasing in the top to bottom direction. Particularly, at the topmost height, representing the 460th layer (Z = 22.95 mm), as seen in Fig. 1b, the average size of γ′ is 110 ± 4 nm, exhibiting spherical shapes. This is representative of the microstructure after it solidifies and cools to room temperature, without experiencing additional thermal cycles. The γ′ size slightly increases to 147 ± 6 nm below this layer and remains constant until 0.4 mm (∼453rd layer) from the top. At this position, the microstructure still closely resembles that of the 460th layer. After the 453rd layer, the γ′ size grows rapidly to ∼503 ± 19 nm until reaching the 437th layer (1.2 mm from top). The γ′ particles here have a cuboidal shape, and a small fraction is coarser than 600 nm. γ′ continue to grow steadily from this position to the bottom (23 mm from the top). A small fraction of γ′ is > 800 nm.

Fig. 2

Besides primary γ′, secondary γ′ with sizes ranging from 5 to 50 nm were also found. These secondary γ′ precipitates, as seen in Fig. 1f, were present only in the bottom and middle regions. A detailed analysis of the multimodal size distribution of γ′ can be found in [16]. There is no significant variation in the phase fraction of the γ′ along the build. The phase fraction is ∼ 52%, as displayed in Fig. 2. It is worth mentioning that the total phase fraction of γ′ was estimated based on the primary γ′ phase fraction because of the small size of secondary γ′. Spherical MC carbides with sizes ranging from 50 to 400 nm and a phase fraction of 0.8% were also observed throughout the build. The carbides are the light grey precipitates in Fig. 1g. The light grey shade of carbides in the SEM images is due to their composition and crystal structure [52]. These carbides are not visible in Fig. 1b-e because they were dissolved during electro-etching carried out after electropolishing. In Fig. 1g, however, the sample was examined directly after electropolishing, without electro-etching.

Table 2 shows the nominal and measured composition of γ′ precipitates throughout the build by atom probe microscopy as determined in our previous study [17]. No build height-dependent composition difference was observed in either of the γ′ precipitate populations. However, there was a slight disparity between the composition of primary and secondary γ′. Among the main γ′ forming elements, the primary γ′ has a high Ti concentration while secondary γ′ has a high Al concentration. A detailed description of the atom distribution maps and the proxigrams of the constituent elements of γ′ throughout the build can be found in [17].

Table 2. Bulk IN738 composition determined using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES). Compositions of γ, primary γ′, and secondary γ′ at various locations in the build measured by APT. This information is reproduced from data in Ref. [17] with permission.

at%NiCrCoAlMoWTiNbCBZrTaOthers
Bulk59.1217.478.487.001.010.813.960.490.470.050.090.560.46
γ matrix
Top50.4832.9111.591.941.390.820.440.80.030.030.020.24
Mid50.3732.6111.931.791.540.890.440.10.030.020.020.010.23
Bot48.1034.5712.082.141.430.880.480.080.040.030.010.12
Primary γ′
Top72.172.513.4412.710.250.397.780.560.030.020.050.08
Mid71.602.573.2813.550.420.687.040.730.010.030.040.04
Bot72.342.473.8612.500.260.447.460.500.050.020.020.030.04
Secondary γ′
Mid70.424.203.2314.190.631.035.340.790.030.040.040.05
Bot69.914.063.6814.320.811.045.220.650.050.100.020.11

3.2. Hardness

Fig. 3a shows the Vickers hardness mapping performed along the entire X-Z surface, while Fig. 3b shows the plot of average hardness at different build heights. This hardness distribution is consistent with the γ′ precipitate size gradient across the build direction in Fig. 1Fig. 2. The maximum hardness of ∼530 HV1 is found at ∼0.5 mm away from the top surface (Z = 22.5), where γ′ particles exhibit the smallest observed size in Fig. 2b. Further down the build (∼ 2 mm from the top), the hardness drops to the 440–490 HV1 range. This represents the region where γ′ begins to coarsen. The hardness drops further to 380–430 HV1 at the bottom of the build.

Fig. 3

3.3. Modeling of the microstructural evolution during E-PBF

3.3.1. Thermal profile modeling

Fig. 4 shows the simulated thermal profile of the E-PBF build at a location of 23 mm from the top of the build, using a semi-analytical heat conduction model. This profile consists of the time taken to deposit 460 layers until final cooling, as shown in Fig. 4a. Fig. 4b-d show the magnified regions of Fig. 4a and reveal the first 20 layers from the top, a single layer (first layer from the top), and the time taken for the build to cool after the last layer deposition, respectively.

Fig. 4

The peak temperatures experienced by previous layers decrease progressively as the number of layers increases but never fall below the build preheat temperature (1000 °C). Our simulated thermal cycle may not completely capture the complexity of the actual thermal cycle utilized in the E-PBF build. For instance, the top layer (Fig. 4c), also representing the first deposit’s thermal profile without additional cycles (from powder heating, melting, to solidification), recorded the highest peak temperature of 1390 °C. Although this temperature is above the melting range of the alloy (1230–1360 °C) [62], we believe a much higher temperature was produced by the electron beam to melt the powder. Nevertheless, the solidification temperature and dynamics are outside the scope of this study as our focus is on the solid-state phase transformations during deposition. It takes ∼25 s for each layer to be deposited and cooled to the build temperature. The interlayer dwell time is 125 s. The time taken for the build to cool to room temperature (RT) after final layer deposition is ∼4.7 hrs (17,000 s).

3.3.2. MatCalc simulation

During the MatCalc simulation, the matrix phase is defined as γ. γ′, and MC carbide are included as possible precipitates. The domain of these precipitates is set to be the matrix (γ), and nucleation is assumed to be homogenous. In homogeneous nucleation, all atoms of the unit volume are assumed to be potential nucleation sitesTable 3 shows the computational parameters used in the simulation. All other parameters were set at default values as recommended in the version 6.04.0011 of MatCalc. The values for the interfacial energies are automatically calculated according to the generalized nearest neighbor broken bond model and is one of the most outstanding features in MatCalc [56][57][58]. It should be noted that the elastic misfit strain was not included in the calculation. The output of MatCalc includes phase fraction, size, nucleation rate, and composition of the precipitates. The phase fraction in MatCalc is the volume fraction. Although the experimental phase fraction is the measured area fraction, it is relatively similar to the volume fraction. This is because of the generally larger precipitate size and similar morphology at the various locations along the build [63]. A reliable phase fraction comparison between experiment and simulation can therefore be made.

Table 3. Computational parameters used in the simulation.

Precipitation domainγ
Nucleation site γ′Bulk (homogenous)
Nucleation site MC carbideBulk (Homogenous)
Precipitates class size250
Regular solution critical temperature γ′2500 K[64]
Calculated interfacial energyγ′ = 0.080–0.140 J/m2 and MC carbide = 0.410–0.430 J/m2
3.3.2.1. Precipitate phase fraction

Fig. 5a shows the simulated phase fraction of γ′ and MC carbide during thermal cycling. Fig. 5b is a magnified view of 5a showing the simulated phase fraction at the center points of the top 70 layers, whereas Fig. 5c corresponds to the first two layers from the top. As mentioned earlier, the top layer (460th layer) represents the microstructure after solidification. The microstructure of the layers below is determined by the number of thermal cycles, which increases with distance to the top. For example, layers 459, 458, 457, up to layer 1 (region of interest) experience 1, 2, 3 and 459 thermal cycles, respectively. In the top layer in Fig. 5c, the volume fraction of γ′ and carbides increases with temperature. For γ′, it decreases to zero when the temperature is above the solvus temperature after a few seconds. Carbides, however, remain constant in their volume fraction reaching equilibrium (phase fraction ∼ 0.9%) in a short time. The topmost layer can be compared to the first deposit, and the peak in temperature symbolizes the stage where the electron beam heats the powder until melting. This means γ′ and carbide precipitation might have started in the powder particles during heating from the build temperature and electron beam until the onset of melting, where γ′ dissolves, but carbides remain stable [28].

Fig. 5

During cooling after deposition, γ′ reprecipitates at a temperature of 1085 °C, which is below its solvus temperature. As cooling progresses, the phase fraction increases steadily to ∼27% and remains constant at 1000 °C (elevated build temperature). The calculated equilibrium fraction of phases by MatCalc is used to show the complex precipitation characteristics in this alloy. Fig. 6 shows that MC carbides form during solidification at 1320 °C, followed by γ′, which precipitate when the solidified layer cools to 1140 °C. This indicates that all deposited layers might contain a negligible amount of these precipitates before subsequent layer deposition, while being at the 1000 °C build temperature or during cooling to RT. The phase diagram also shows that the equilibrium fraction of the γ′ increases as temperature decreases. For instance, at 1000, 900, and 800 °C, the phase fractions are ∼30%, 38%, and 42%, respectively.

Fig. 6

Deposition of subsequent layers causes previous layers to undergo phase transformations as they are exposed to several thermal cycles with different peak temperatures. In Fig. 5c, as the subsequent layer is being deposited, γ′ in the previous layer (459th layer) begins to dissolve as the temperature crosses the solvus temperature. This is witnessed by the reduction of the γ′ phase fraction. This graph also shows how this phase dissolves during heating. However, the phase fraction of MC carbide remains stable at high temperatures and no dissolution is seen during thermal cycling. Upon cooling, the γ′ that was dissolved during heating reprecipitates with a surge in the phase fraction until 1000 °C, after which it remains constant. This microstructure is similar to the solidification microstructure (layer 460), with a similar γ′ phase fraction (∼27%).

The complete dissolution and reprecipitation of γ′ continue for several cycles until the 50th layer from the top (layer 411), where the phase fraction does not reach zero during heating to the peak temperature (see Fig. 5d). This indicates the ‘partial’ dissolution of γ′, which continues progressively with additional layers. It should be noted that the peak temperatures for layers that underwent complete dissolution were much higher (1170–1300 °C) than the γ′ solvus.

The dissolution and reprecipitation of γ′ during thermal cycling are further confirmed in Fig. 7, which summarizes the nucleation rate, phase fraction, and concentration of major elements that form γ′ in the matrix. Fig. 7b magnifies a single layer (3rd layer from top) within the full dissolution region in Fig. 7a to help identify the nucleation and growth mechanisms. From Fig. 7b, γ′ nucleation begins during cooling whereby the nucleation rate increases to reach a maximum value of approximately 1 × 1020 m−3s−1. This fast kinetics implies that some rearrangement of atoms is required for γ′ precipitates to form in the matrix [65][66]. The matrix at this stage is in a non-equilibrium condition. Its composition is similar to the nominal composition and remains unchanged. The phase fraction remains insignificant at this stage although nucleation has started. The nucleation rate starts declining upon reaching the peak value. Simultaneously, diffusion-controlled growth of existing nuclei occurs, depleting the matrix of γ′ forming elements (Al and Ti). Thus, from (7)(11), ∆�vol continuously decreases until nucleation ceases. The growth of nuclei is witnessed by the increase in phase fraction until a constant level is reached at 27% upon cooling to and holding at build temperature. This nucleation event is repeated several times.

Fig. 7

At the onset of partial dissolution, the nucleation rate jumps to 1 × 1021 m−3s−1, and then reduces sharply at the middle stage of partial dissolution. The nucleation rate reaches 0 at a later stage. Supplementary Fig. S1 shows a magnified view of the nucleation rate, phase fraction, and thermal profile, underpinning this trend. The jump in nucleation rate at the onset is followed by a progressive reduction in the solute content of the matrix. The peak temperatures (∼1130–1160 °C) are lower than those in complete dissolution regions but still above or close to the γ′ solvus. The maximum phase fraction (∼27%) is similar to that of the complete dissolution regions. At the middle stage, the reduction in nucleation rate is accompanied by a sharp drop in the matrix composition. The γ′ fraction drops to ∼24%, where the peak temperatures of the layers are just below or at γ′ solvus. The phase fraction then increases progressively through the later stage of partial dissolution to ∼30% towards the end of thermal cycling. The matrix solute content continues to drop although no nucleation event is seen. The peak temperatures are then far below the γ′ solvus. It should be noted that the matrix concentration after complete dissolution remains constant. Upon cooling to RT after final layer deposition, the nucleation rate increases again, indicating new nucleation events. The phase fraction reaches ∼40%, with a further depletion of the matrix in major γ′ forming elements.

3.3.2.2. γ′ size distribution

Fig. 8 shows histograms of the γ′ precipitate size distributions (PSD) along the build height during deposition. These PSDs are predicted at the end of each layer of interest just before final cooling to room temperature, to separate the role of thermal cycles from final cooling on the evolution of γ′. The PSD for the top layer (layer 460) is shown in Fig. 8a (last solidified region with solidification microstructure). The γ′ size ranges from 120 to 230 nm and is similar to the 44 layers below (2.2 mm from the top).

Fig. 8

Further down the build, γ′ begins to coarsen after layer 417 (44th layer from top). Fig. 8c shows the PSD after the 44th layer, where the γ′ size exhibits two peaks at ∼120–230 and ∼300 nm, with most of the population being in the former range. This is the onset of partial dissolution where simultaneously with the reprecipitation and growth of fresh γ′, the undissolved γ′ grows rapidly through diffusive transport of atoms to the precipitates. This is shown in Fig. 8c, where the precipitate class sizes between 250 and 350 represent the growth of undissolved γ′. Although this continues in the 416th layer, the phase fractions plot indicates that the onset of partial dissolution begins after the 411th layer. This implies that partial dissolution started early, but the fraction of undissolved γ′ was too low to impact the phase fraction. The reprecipitated γ′ are mostly in the 100–220 nm class range and similar to those observed during full dissolution.

As the number of layers increases, coarsening intensifies with continued growth of more undissolved γ′, and reprecipitation and growth of partially dissolved ones. Fig. 8d, e, and f show this sequence. Further down the build, coarsening progresses rapidly, as shown in Figs. 8d, 8e, and 8f. The γ′ size ranges from 120 to 1100 nm, with the peaks at 160, 180, and 220 nm in Figs. 8d, 8e, and 8f, respectively. Coarsening continues until nucleation ends during dissolution, where only the already formed γ′ precipitates continue to grow during further thermal cycling. The γ′ size at this point is much larger, as observed in layers 361 and 261, and continues to increase steadily towards the bottom (layer 1). Two populations in the ranges of ∼380–700 and ∼750–1100 nm, respectively, can be seen. The steady growth of γ′ towards the bottom is confirmed by the gradual decrease in the concentration of solute elements in the matrix (Fig. 7a). It should be noted that for each layer, the γ′ class with the largest size originates from continuous growth of the earliest set of the undissolved precipitates.

Fig. 9Fig. 10 and supplementary Figs. S2 and S3 show the γ′ size evolution during heating and cooling of a single layer in the full dissolution region, and early, middle stages, and later stages of partial dissolution, respectively. In all, the size of γ′ reduces during layer heating. Depending on the peak temperature of the layer which varies with build height, γ′ are either fully or partially dissolved as mentioned earlier. Upon cooling, the dissolved γ′ reprecipitate.

Fig. 9
Fig. 10

In Fig. 9, those layers that underwent complete dissolution (top layers) were held above γ′ solvus temperature for longer. In Fig. 10, layers at the early stage of partial dissolution spend less time in the γ′ solvus temperature region during heating, leading to incomplete dissolution. In such conditions, smaller precipitates are fully dissolved while larger ones shrink [67]. Layers in the middle stages of partial dissolution have peak temperatures just below or at γ′ solvus, not sufficient to achieve significant γ′ dissolution. As seen in supplementary Fig. S2, only a few smaller γ′ are dissolved back into the matrix during heating, i.e., growth of precipitates is more significant than dissolution. This explains the sharp decrease in concentration of Al and Ti in the matrix in this layer.

The previous sections indicate various phenomena such as an increase in phase fraction, further depletion of matrix composition, and new nucleation bursts during cooling. Analysis of the PSD after the final cooling of the build to room temperature allows a direct comparison to post-printing microstructural characterization. Fig. 11 shows the γ′ size distribution of layer 1 (460th layer from the top) after final cooling to room temperature. Precipitation of secondary γ′ is observed, leading to the multimodal size distribution of secondary and primary γ′. The secondary γ′ size falls within the 10–80 nm range. As expected, a further growth of the existing primary γ′ is also observed during cooling.

Fig. 11
3.3.2.3. γ′ chemistry after deposition

Fig. 12 shows the concentration of the major elements that form γ′ (Al, Ti, and Ni) in the primary and secondary γ′ at the bottom of the build, as calculated by MatCalc. The secondary γ′ has a higher Al content (13.5–14.5 at% Al), compared to 13 at% Al in the primary γ′. Additionally, within the secondary γ′, the smallest particles (∼10 nm) have higher Al contents than larger ones (∼70 nm). In contrast, for the primary γ′, there is no significant variation in the Al content as a function of their size. The Ni concentration in secondary γ′ (71.1–72 at%) is also higher in comparison to the primary γ′ (70 at%). The smallest secondary γ′ (∼10 nm) have higher Ni contents than larger ones (∼70 nm), whereas there is no substantial change in the Ni content of primary γ′, based on their size. As expected, Ti shows an opposite size-dependent variation. It ranges from ∼ 7.7–8.7 at% Ti in secondary γ′ to ∼9.2 at% in primary γ′. Similarly, within the secondary γ′, the smallest (∼10 nm) have lower Al contents than the larger ones (∼70 nm). No significant variation is observed for Ti content in primary γ′.

Fig. 12

4. Discussion

A combined modelling method is utilized to study the microstructural evolution during E-PBF of IN738. The presented results are discussed by examining the precipitation and dissolution mechanism of γ′ during thermal cycling. This is followed by a discussion on the phase fraction and size evolution of γ′ during thermal cycling and after final cooling. A brief discussion on carbide morphology is also made. Finally, a comparison is made between the simulation and experimental results to assess their agreement.

4.1. γ′ morphology as a function of build height

4.1.1. Nucleation of γ′

The fast precipitation kinetics of the γ′ phase enables formation of γ′ upon quenching from higher temperatures (above solvus) during thermal cycling [66]. In Fig. 7b, for a single layer in the full dissolution region, during cooling, the initial increase in nucleation rate signifies the first formation of nuclei. The slight increase in nucleation rate during partial dissolution, despite a decrease in the concentration of γ′ forming elements, may be explained by the nucleation kinetics. During partial dissolution and as the precipitates shrink, it is assumed that the regions at the vicinity of partially dissolved precipitates are enriched in γ′ forming elements [68][69]. This differs from the full dissolution region, in which case the chemical composition is evenly distributed in the matrix. Several authors have attributed the solute supersaturation of the matrix around primary γ′ to partial dissolution during isothermal ageing [69][70][71][72]. The enhanced supersaturation in the regions close to the precipitates results in a much higher driving force for nucleation, leading to a higher nucleation rate upon cooling. This phenomenon can be closely related to the several nucleation bursts upon continuous cooling of Ni-based superalloys, where second nucleation bursts exhibit higher nucleation rates [38][68][73][74].

At middle stages of partial dissolution, the reduction in the nucleation rate indicates that the existing composition and low supersaturation did not trigger nucleation as the matrix was closer to the equilibrium state. The end of a nucleation burst means that the supersaturation of Al and Ti has reached a low level, incapable of providing sufficient driving force during cooling to or holding at 1000 °C for further nucleation [73]. Earlier studies on Ni-based superalloys have reported the same phenomenon during ageing or continuous cooling from the solvus temperature to RT [38][73][74].

4.1.2. Dissolution of γ′ during thermal cycling

γ′ dissolution kinetics during heating are fast when compared to nucleation due to exponential increase in phase transformation and diffusion activities with temperature [65]. As shown in Fig. 9Fig. 10, and supplementary Figs. S2 and S3, the reduction in γ′ phase fraction and size during heating indicates γ′ dissolution. This is also revealed in Fig. 5 where phase fraction decreases upon heating. The extent of γ′ dissolution mostly depends on the temperature, time spent above γ′ solvus, and precipitate size [75][76][77]. Smaller γ′ precipitates are first to be dissolved [67][77][78]. This is mainly because more solute elements need to be transported away from large γ′ precipitates than from smaller ones [79]. Also, a high temperature above γ′ solvus temperature leads to a faster dissolution rate [80]. The equilibrium solvus temperature of γ′ in IN738 in our MatCalc simulation (Fig. 6) and as reported by Ojo et al. [47] is 1140 °C and 1130–1180 °C, respectively. This means the peak temperature experienced by previous layers decreases progressively from γ′ supersolvus to subsolvus, near-solvus, and far from solvus as the number of subsequent layers increases. Based on the above, it can be inferred that the degree of dissolution of γ′ contributes to the gradient in precipitate distribution.

Although the peak temperatures during later stages of partial dissolution are much lower than the equilibrium γ′ solvus, γ′ dissolution still occurs but at a significantly lower rate (supplementary Fig. S3). Wahlmann et al. [28] also reported a similar case where they observed the rapid dissolution of γ′ in CMSX-4 during fast heating and cooling cycles at temperatures below the γ′ solvus. They attributed this to the γ′ phase transformation process taking place in conditions far from the equilibrium. While the same reasoning may be valid for our study, we further believe that the greater surface area to volume ratio of the small γ′ precipitates contributed to this. This ratio means a larger area is available for solute atoms to diffuse into the matrix even at temperatures much below the solvus [81].

4.2. γ′ phase fraction and size evolution

4.2.1. During thermal cycling

In the first layer, the steep increase in γ′ phase fraction during heating (Fig. 5), which also represents γ′ precipitation in the powder before melting, has qualitatively been validated in [28]. The maximum phase fraction of 27% during the first few layers of thermal cycling indicates that IN738 theoretically could reach the equilibrium state (∼30%), but the short interlayer time at the build temperature counteracts this. The drop in phase fraction at middle stages of partial dissolution is due to the low number of γ′ nucleation sites [73]. It has been reported that a reduction of γ′ nucleation sites leads to a delay in obtaining the final volume fraction as more time is required for γ′ precipitates to grow and reach equilibrium [82]. This explains why even upon holding for 150 s before subsequent layer deposition, the phase fraction does not increase to those values that were observed in the previous full γ′ dissolution regions. Towards the end of deposition, the increase in phase fraction to the equilibrium value of 30% is as a result of the longer holding at build temperature or close to it [83].

During thermal cycling, γ′ particles begin to grow immediately after they first precipitate upon cooling. This is reflected in the rapid increase in phase fraction and size during cooling in Fig. 5 and supplementary Fig. S2, respectively. The rapid growth is due to the fast diffusion of solute elements at high temperatures [84]. The similar size of γ′ for the first 44 layers from the top can be attributed to the fact that all layers underwent complete dissolution and hence, experienced the same nucleation event and growth during deposition. This corresponds with the findings by Balikci et al. [85], who reported that the degree of γ′ precipitation in IN738LC does not change when a solution heat treatment is conducted above a certain critical temperature.

The increase in coarsening rate (Fig. 8) during thermal cycling can first be ascribed to the high peak temperature of the layers [86]. The coarsening rate of γ′ is known to increase rapidly with temperature due to the exponential growth of diffusion activity. Also, the simultaneous dissolution with coarsening could be another reason for the high coarsening rate, as γ′ coarsening is a diffusion-driven process where large particles grow by consuming smaller ones [78][84][86][87]. The steady growth of γ′ towards the bottom of the build is due to the much lower layer peak temperature, which is almost close to the build temperature, and reduced dissolution activity, as is seen in the much lower solute concentration in γ′ compared to those in the full and partial dissolution regions.

4.2.2. During cooling

The much higher phase fraction of ∼40% upon cooling signifies the tendency of γ′ to reach equilibrium at lower temperatures (Fig. 4). This is due to the precipitation of secondary γ′ and a further increase in the size of existing primary γ′, which leads to a multimodal size distribution of γ′ after cooling [38][73][88][89][90]. The reason for secondary γ′ formation during cooling is as follows: As cooling progresses, it becomes increasingly challenging to redistribute solute elements in the matrix owing to their lower mobility [38][73]. A higher supersaturation level in regions away from or free of the existing γ′ precipitates is achieved, making them suitable sites for additional nucleation bursts. More cooling leads to the growth of these secondary γ′ precipitates, but as the temperature and in turn, the solute diffusivity is low, growth remains slow.

4.3. Carbides

MC carbides in IN738 are known to have a significant impact on the high-temperature strength. They can also act as effective hardening particles and improve the creep resistance [91]. Precipitation of MC carbides in IN738 and several other superalloys is known to occur during solidification or thermal treatments (e.g., hot isostatic pressing) [92]. In our case, this means that the MC carbides within the E-PBF build formed because of the thermal exposure from the E-PBF thermal cycle in addition to initial solidification. Our simulation confirms this as MC carbides appear during layer heating (Fig. 5). The constant and stable phase fraction of MC carbides during thermal cycling can be attributed to their high melting point (∼1360 °C) and the short holding time at peak temperatures [75][93][94]. The solvus temperature for most MC carbides exceeds most of the peak temperatures observed in our simulation, and carbide dissolution kinetics at temperatures above the solvus are known to be comparably slow [95]. The stable phase fraction and random distribution of MC carbides signifies the slight influence on the gradient in hardness.

4.4. Comparison of simulations and experiments

4.4.1. Precipitate phase fraction and morphology as a function of build height

A qualitative agreement is observed for the phase fraction of carbides, i.e. ∼0.8% in the experiment and ∼0.9% in the simulation. The phase fraction of γ′ differs, with the experiment reporting a value of ∼51% and the simulation, 40%. Despite this, the size distribution of primary γ′ along the build shows remarkable consistency between experimental and computational analyses. It is worth noting that the primary γ′ morphology in the experimental analysis is observed in the as-fabricated state, whereas the simulation (Fig. 8) captures it during deposition process. The primary γ′ size in the experiment is expected to experience additional growth during the cooling phase. Regardless, both show similar trends in primary γ′ size increments from the top to the bottom of the build. The larger primary γ’ size in the simulation versus the experiment can be attributed to the fact that experimental and simulation results are based on 2D and 3D data, respectively. The absence of stereological considerations [96] in our analysis could have led to an underestimation of the precipitate sizes from SEM measurements. The early starts of coarsening (8th layer) in the experiment compared to the simulation (45th layer) can be attributed to a higher actual γ′ solvus temperature than considered in our simulation [47]. The solvus temperature of γ′ in a Ni-based superalloy is mainly determined by the detailed composition. A high amount of Cr and Co are known to reduce the solvus temperature, whereas Ta and Mo will increase it [97][98][99]. The elemental composition from our experimental work was used for the simulation except for Ta. It should be noted that Ta is not included in the thermodynamic database in MatCalc used, and this may have reduced the solvus temperature. This could also explain the relatively higher γ′ phase fraction in the experiment than in simulation, as a higher γ′ solvus temperature will cause more γ′ to precipitate and grow early during cooling [99][100].

Another possible cause of this deviation can be attributed to the extent of γ′ dissolution, which is mainly determined by the peak temperature. It can be speculated that individual peak temperatures at different layers in the simulation may have been over-predicted. However, one needs to consider that the true thermal profile is likely more complicated in the actual E-PBF process [101]. For example, the current model assumes that the thermophysical properties of the material are temperature-independent, which is not realistic. Many materials, including IN738, exhibit temperature-dependent properties such as thermal conductivityspecific heat capacity, and density [102]. This means that heat transfer simulations may underestimate or overestimate the temperature gradients and cooling rates within the powder bed and the solidified part. Additionally, the model does not account for the reduced thermal diffusivity through unmelted powder, where gas separating the powder acts as insulation, impeding the heat flow [1]. In E-PBF, the unmelted powder regions with trapped gas have lower thermal diffusivity compared to the fully melted regions, leading to localized temperature variations, and altered solidification behavior. These limitations can impact the predictions, particularly in relation to the carbide dissolution, as the peak temperatures may be underestimated.

While acknowledging these limitations, it is worth emphasizing that achieving a detailed and accurate representation of each layer’s heat source would impose tough computational challenges. Given the substantial layer count in E-PBF, our decision to employ a semi-analytical approximation strikes a balance between computational feasibility and the capture of essential trends in thermal profiles across diverse build layers. In future work, a dual-calibration strategy is proposed to further reduce simulation-experiment disparities. By refining temperature-independent thermophysical property approximations and absorptivity in the heat source model, and by optimizing interfacial energy descriptions in the kinetic model, the predictive precision could be enhanced. Further refining the simulation controls, such as adjusting the precipitate class size may enhance quantitative comparisons between modeling outcomes and experimental data in future work.

4.4.2. Multimodal size distribution of γ′ and concentration

Another interesting feature that sees qualitative agreement between the simulation and the experiment is the multimodal size distribution of γ′. The formation of secondary γ′ particles in the experiment and most E-PBF Ni-based superalloys is suggested to occur at low temperatures, during final cooling to RT [16][73][90]. However, so far, this conclusion has been based on findings from various continuous cooling experiments, as the study of the evolution during AM would require an in-situ approach. Our simulation unambiguously confirms this in an AM context by providing evidence for secondary γ′ precipitation during slow cooling to RT. Additionally, it is possible to speculate that the chemical segregation occurring during solidification, due to the preferential partitioning of certain elements between the solid and liquid phases, can contribute to the multimodal size distribution during deposition [51]. This is because chemical segregation can result in variations in the local composition of superalloys, which subsequently affects the nucleation and growth of γ′. Regions with higher concentrations of alloying elements will encourage the formation of larger γ′ particles, while regions with lower concentrations may favor the nucleation of smaller precipitates. However, it is important to acknowledge that the elevated temperature during the E-PBF process will largely homogenize these compositional differences [103][104].

A good correlation is also shown in the composition of major γ′ forming elements (Al and Ti) in primary and secondary γ′. Both experiment and simulation show an increasing trend for Al content and a decreasing trend for Ti content from primary to secondary γ′. The slight composition differences between primary and secondary γ′ particles are due to the different diffusivity of γ′ stabilizers at different thermal conditions [105][106]. As the formation of multimodal γ′ particles with different sizes occurs over a broad temperature range, the phase chemistry of γ′ will be highly size dependent. The changes in the chemistry of various γ′ (primary, secondary, and tertiary) have received significant attention since they have a direct influence on the performance [68][105][107][108][109]. Chen et al. [108][109], reported a high Al content in the smallest γ′ precipitates compared to the largest, while Ti showed an opposite trend during continuous cooling in a RR1000 Ni-based superalloy. This was attributed to the temperature and cooling rate at which the γ′ precipitates were formed. The smallest precipitates formed last, at the lowest temperature and cooling rate. A comparable observation is evident in the present investigation, where the secondary γ′ forms at a low temperature and cooling rate in comparison to the primary. The temperature dependence of γ′ chemical composition is further evidenced in supplementary Fig. S4, which shows the equilibrium chemical composition of γ′ as a function of temperature.

5. Conclusions

A correlative modelling approach capable of predicting solid-state phase transformations kinetics in metal AM was developed. This approach involves computational simulations with a semi-analytical heat transfer model and the MatCalc thermo-kinetic software. The method was used to predict the phase transformation kinetics and detailed morphology and chemistry of γ′ and MC during E-PBF of IN738 Ni-based superalloy. The main conclusions are:

  • 1.The computational simulations are in qualitative agreement with the experimental observations. This is particularly true for the γ′ size distribution along the build height, the multimodal size distribution of particles, and the phase fraction of MC carbides.
  • 2.The deviations between simulation and experiment in terms of γ′ phase fraction and location in the build are most likely attributed to a higher γ′ solvus temperature during the experiment than in the simulation, which is argued to be related to the absence of Ta in the MatCalc database.
  • 3.The dissolution and precipitation of γ′ occur fast and under non-equilibrium conditions. The level of γ′ dissolution determines the gradient in γ′ size distribution along the build. After thermal cycling, the final cooling to room temperature has further significant impacts on the final γ′ size, morphology, and distribution.
  • 4.A negligible amount of γ′ forms in the first deposited layer before subsequent layer deposition, and a small amount of γ′ may also form in the powder induced by the 1000 °C elevated build temperature before melting.

Our findings confirm the suitability of MatCalc to predict the microstructural evolution at various positions throughout a build in a Ni-based superalloy during E-PBF. It also showcases the suitability of a tool which was originally developed for traditional thermo-mechanical processing of alloys to the new additive manufacturing context. Our simulation capabilities are likely extendable to other alloy systems that undergo solid-state phase transformations implemented in MatCalc (various steels, Ni-based superalloys, and Al-alloys amongst others) as well as other AM processes such as L-DED and L-PBF which have different thermal cycle characteristics. New tools to predict the microstructural evolution and properties during metal AM are important as they provide new insights into the complexities of AM. This will enable control and design of AM microstructures towards advanced materials properties and performances.

CRediT authorship contribution statement

Primig Sophie: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Resources, Project administration, Funding acquisition, Conceptualization. Adomako Nana Kwabena: Writing – original draft, Writing – review & editing, Visualization, Software, Investigation, Formal analysis, Conceptualization. Haghdadi Nima: Writing – review & editing, Supervision, Project administration, Methodology, Conceptualization. Dingle James F.L.: Methodology, Conceptualization, Software, Writing – review & editing, Visualization. Kozeschnik Ernst: Writing – review & editing, Software, Methodology. Liao Xiaozhou: Writing – review & editing, Project administration, Funding acquisition. Ringer Simon P: Writing – review & editing, Project administration, Funding acquisition.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Acknowledgements

This research was sponsored by the Department of Industry, Innovation, and Science under the auspices of the AUSMURI program – which is a part of the Commonwealth’s Next Generation Technologies Fund. The authors acknowledge the facilities and the scientific and technical assistance at the Electron Microscope Unit (EMU) within the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre (MWAC) at UNSW Sydney and Microscopy Australia. Nana Adomako is supported by a UNSW Scientia PhD scholarship. Michael Haines’ (UNSW Sydney) contribution to the revised version of the original manuscript is thankfully acknowledged.

Appendix A. Supplementary material

Download : Download Word document (462KB)

Supplementary material.

Data Availability

Data will be made available on request.

References

Study on the critical sediment concentration determining the optimal transport capability of submarine sediment flows with different particle size composition

Study on the critical sediment concentration determining the optimal transport capability of submarine sediment flows with different particle size composition

Yupeng Ren abc, Huiguang Zhou cd, Houjie Wang ab, Xiao Wu ab, Guohui Xu cd, Qingsheng Meng cd

Abstract

해저 퇴적물 흐름은 퇴적물을 심해로 운반하는 주요 수단 중 하나이며, 종종 장거리를 이동하고 수십 또는 수백 킬로미터에 걸쳐 상당한 양의 퇴적물을 운반합니다. 그것의 강력한 파괴력은 종종 이동 과정에서 잠수함 유틸리티에 심각한 손상을 초래합니다.

퇴적물 흐름의 퇴적물 농도는 주변 해수와의 밀도차를 결정하며, 이 밀도 차이는 퇴적물 흐름의 흐름 능력을 결정하여 이송된 퇴적물의 최종 퇴적 위치에 영향을 미칩니다. 본 논문에서는 다양한 미사 및 점토 중량비(미사/점토 비율이라고 함)를 갖는 다양한 퇴적물 농도의 퇴적물 흐름을 수로 테스트를 통해 연구합니다.

우리의 테스트 결과는 특정 퇴적물 구성에 대해 퇴적물 흐름이 가장 빠르게 이동하는 임계 퇴적물 농도가 있음을 나타냅니다. 4가지 미사/점토 비율 각각에 대한 임계 퇴적물 농도와 이에 상응하는 최대 속도가 구해집니다. 결과는 점토 함량이 임계 퇴적물 농도와 선형적으로 음의 상관 관계가 있음을 나타냅니다.

퇴적물 농도가 증가함에 따라 퇴적물의 흐름 거동은 흐름 상태에서 붕괴된 상태로 변환되고 흐름 거동이 변화하는 두 탁한 현탁액의 유체 특성은 모두 Bingham 유체입니다.

또한 본 논문에서는 퇴적물 흐름 내 입자 배열을 분석하여 위에서 언급한 결과에 대한 미시적 설명도 제공합니다.

Submarine sediment flows is one of the main means for transporting sediment to the deep sea, often traveling long-distance and transporting significant volumes of sediment for tens or even hundreds of kilometers. Its strong destructive force often causes serious damage to submarine utilities on its course of movement. The sediment concentration of the sediment flow determines its density difference with the ambient seawater, and this density difference determines the flow ability of the sediment flow, and thus affects the final deposition locations of the transported sediment. In this paper, sediment flows of different sediment concentration with various silt and clay weight ratios (referred to as silt/clay ratio) are studied using flume tests. Our test results indicate that there is a critical sediment concentration at which sediment flows travel the fastest for a specific sediment composition. The critical sediment concentrations and their corresponding maximum velocities for each of the four silt/clay ratios are obtained. The results further indicate that the clay content is linearly negatively correlated with the critical sediment concentration. As the sediment concentration increases, the flow behaviors of sediment flows transform from the flow state to the collapsed state, and the fluid properties of the two turbid suspensions with changing flow behaviors are both Bingham fluids. Additionally, this paper also provides a microscopic explanation of the above-mentioned results by analyzing the arrangement of particles within the sediment flow.

Introduction

Submarine sediment flows are important carriers for sea floor sediment movement and may carry and transport significant volumes of sediment for tens or even hundreds of kilometers (Prior et al., 1987; Pirmez and Imran, 2003; Zhang et al., 2018). Earthquakes, storms, and floods may all trigger submarine sediment flow events (Hsu et al., 2008; Piper and Normark, 2009; Pope et al., 2017b; Gavey et al., 2017). Sediment flows have strong forces during the movement, which will cause great harm to submarine structures such as cables and pipelines (Pope et al., 2017a). It was first confirmed that the cable breaking event caused by the sediment flow occurred in 1929. The sediment flow triggered by the Grand Banks earthquake damaged 12 cables. According to the time sequence of the cable breaking, the maximum velocity of the sediment flow is as high as 28 m/s (Heezen and Ewing, 1952; Kuenen, 1952; Heezen et al., 1954). Subsequent research shows that the lowest turbidity velocity that can break the cable also needs to reach 19 m/s (Piper et al., 1988). Since then, there have been many damage events of submarine cables and oil and gas pipelines caused by sediment flows in the world (Hsu et al., 2008; Carter et al., 2012; Cattaneo et al., 2012; Carter et al., 2014). During its movement, the sediment flow will gradually deposit a large amount of sediment carried by it along the way, that is, the deposition process of the sediment flow. On the one hand, this process brings a large amount of terrestrial nutrients and other materials to the ocean, while on the other hand, it causes damage and burial to benthic organisms, thus forming the largest sedimentary accumulation on Earth – submarine fans, which are highly likely to become good reservoirs for oil and gas resources (Daly, 1936; Yuan et al., 2010; Wu et al., 2022). The study on sediment flows (such as, the study of flow velocity and the forces acting on seabed structures) can provide important references for the safe design of seabed structures, the protection of submarine ecosystems, and exploration of turbidity sediments related oil and gas deposits. Therefore, it is of great significance to study the movement of sediment flows.

The sediment flow, as a highly sediment-concentrated fluid flowing on the sea floor, has a dense bottom layer and a dilute turbulent cloud. Observations at the Monterey Canyon indicated that the sediment flow can maintain its movement over long distances if its bottom has a relatively high sediment concentration. This dense bottom layer can be very destructive along its movement path to any facilities on the sea floor (Paull et al., 2018; Heerema et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2020). The sediment flow mentioned in this research paper is the general term of sediment density flow.

The sediment flow, which occurs on the seafloor, has the potential to cause erosion along its path. In this process, the suspended sediment is replenished, allowing the sediment flow to maintain its continuous flow capacity (Zhao et al., 2018). The dynamic force of sediment flow movement stem from its own gravity and density difference with surrounding water. In cases that the gravity drive of the slope is absent (on a flat sea floor), the flow velocity and distance of sediment flows are essentially determined by the sediment composition and concentration of the sediment flows as previous studies have demonstrated. Ilstad et al. (2004) conducted underwater flow tests in a sloped tank and employed high speed video camera to perform particle tracking. The results indicated that the premixed sand-rich and clay-rich slurries demonstrated different flow velocity and flow behavior. Using mixed kaolinite(d50 = 6 μm) and silica flour(d50 = 9 μm) in three compositions with total volumetric concentration ranged 22% or 28%, Felix and Peakall (2006) carried out underwater flow tests in a 5° slope Perspex channel and found that the flow ability of sediment flows is different depending on sediment compositions and concentrations. Sumner et al. (2009) used annular flume experiments to investigate the depositional dynamics and deposits of waning sediment-laden flows, finding that decelerating fast flows with fixed sand content and variable mud content resulted in four different deposit types. Chowdhury and Testik (2011) used lock-exchange tank, and experimented the kaolin clay sediment flows in the concentration range of 25–350 g/L, and predicted the fluid mud sediment flows propagation characteristics, but this study focused on giving sediment flows propagate phase transition time parameters, and is limited to clay. Lv et al. (2017) found through experiments that the rheological properties and flow behavior of kaolin clay (d50 = 3.7 μm) sediment flows were correlated to clay concentrations. In the field monitoring conducted by Liu et al. (2023) at the Manila Trench in the South China Sea in 2021, significant differences in the velocity, movement distance, and flow morphology of turbidity currents were observed. These differences may be attributed to variations in the particle composition of the turbidity currents.

On low and gentle slopes, although sediment flow with sand as the main sediment composition moves faster, it is difficult to propagate over long distances because sand has greater settling velocity and subaqueous angle of repose. Whereas the sediment flows with silt and clay as main composition may maintain relatively stable currents. Although its movement speed is slow, it has the ability to propagate over long distances because of the low settling rate of the fine particles (Ilstad et al., 2004; Liu et al., 2023). In a field observation at the Gaoping submarine canyon, the sediments collected from the sediment flows exhibited grain size gradation and the sediment was mostly composed of silt and clay (Liu et al., 2012). At the largest deltas in the world, for instance, the Mississippi River Delta, the sediments are mainly composed of silt and clay, which generally distributed along the coast in a wide range and provided the sediment sources for further distribution. The sediment flows originated and transported sediment from the coast to the deep sea are therefore share the same sediment compositions as delta sediments. To study the sediment flows composed of silt and clay is of great importance.

The sediment concentration of the sediment flows determines the density difference between the sediment flows and the ambient water and plays a key role in its flow ability. For the sediment flow with sediment composed of silt and clay, low sediment concentration means low density and therefore leads to low flow ability; however, although high sediment concentration results in high density, since there is cohesion between fine particles, it changes fluid properties and leads to low flow ability as well. Therefore, there should be a critical sediment concentration with mixed composition of silt and clay, at which the sediment flow maintains its strongest flow capacity and have the highest movement speed. In other words, the two characteristics of particle diameter and concentration of the sediment flow determine its own motion ability, which, if occurs, may become the most destructive force to submarine structures.

The objectives of this work was to study how the sediment composition (measured in relative weight of silt and clay, and referred as silt/clay ratio) and sediment concentration affect flow ability and behavior of the sediment flows, and to quantify the critical sediment concentration at which the sediment flows reached the greatest flow velocity under the experiment setting. We used straight flume without slope and conducted a series of flume tests with varying sediment compositions (silt-rich or clay-rich) and concentrations (96 to 1212 g/L). Each sediment flow sample was tested and analyzed for rheological properties using a rheometer, in order to characterize the relationship between flow behavior and rheological properties. Combined with the particle diameter, density and viscosity characteristics of the sediment flows measured in the experiment, a numerical modeling study is conducted, which are mutually validated with the experimental results.

The sediment concentration determines the arrangements of the sediment particles in the turbid suspension, and the arrangement impacts the fluid properties of the turbid suspension. The microscopic mode of particle arrangement in the turbid suspension can be constructed to further analyze the relationship between the fluid properties of turbid suspension and the flow behaviors of the sediment flow, and then characterize the critical sediment concentration at which the sediment flow runs the fastest. A simplified microscopic model of particle arrangement in turbid suspension was constructed to analyze the microscopic arrangement characteristics of sediment particles in turbid suspension with the fastest velocity.

Section snippets

Equipment and materials

The sediment flows flow experiments were performed in a Perspex channel with smooth transparent walls. The layout and dimensions of the experimental set-up were shown in Fig. 1. The bottom of the channel was flat and straight, and a gate was arranged to separate the two tanks. In order to study the flow capacity of turbidity currents from the perspective of their own composition (particle size distribution and concentration), we used a straight channel instead of an inclined one, to avoid any

Relationship between sediment flow flow velocity and sediment concentration

After the sediment flow is generated, its movement in the first half (50 cm) of the channel is relatively stable, and there is obvious shock diffusion in the second half. The reason is that the excitation wave (similar to the surge) will be formed during the sediment flow movement, and its speed is much faster than the speed of the sediment flow head. When the excitation wave reaches the tail of the channel, it will be reflected, thus affecting the subsequent flow of the sediment flow.

Sediment flows motion simulation based on FLOW-3D

As a relatively mature 3D fluid simulation software, FLOW-3D can accurately predict the free surface flow, and has been used to simulate the movement process of sediment flows for many times (Heimsund, 2007). The model adopted in this paper is RNG turbulence model, which can better deal with the flow with high strain rate and is suitable for the simulation of sediment flows with variable shape during movement. The governing equations of the numerical model involved include continuity equation,

Conclusions

In this study, we conducted a series of sediment flow flume tests with mixed silt and clay sediment samples in four silt/clay ratios on a flat slope. Rheological measurements were carried out on turbid suspension samples and microstructure analysis of the sediment particle arrangements was conducted, we concluded that:

  • (1)The flow velocity of the sediment flow is controlled by the sediment concentration and its own particle diameter composition, the flow velocity increased with the increase of the

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant no. 42206055]; the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant no. 41976049]; and the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant no. 42272327].

References (39)

There are more references available in the full text version of this article.

Figure 1. Three-dimensional finite element model of local scouring of semi-exposed submarine cable.

반노출 해저케이블의 국부 정련과정 및 영향인자에 대한 수치적 연구

Numerical Study of the Local Scouring Process and Influencing Factors of Semi-Exposed Submarine Cables

by Qishun Li,Yanpeng Hao *,Peng Zhang,Haotian Tan,Wanxing Tian,Linhao Chen andLin Yang

School of Electric Power Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, China

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.J. Mar. Sci. Eng.202311(7), 1349; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse11071349

Received: 10 June 2023 / Revised: 19 June 2023 / Accepted: 27 June 2023 / Published: 1 July 2023(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Engineering)

일부 수식이 손상되어 표시될 수 있습니다. 이 경우 원문을 참조하시기 바랍니다.

Abstract

Local scouring might result in the spanning of submarine cables, endangering their mechanical and electrical properties. In this contribution, a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics simulation model is developed using FLOW-3D, and the scouring process of semi-exposed submarine cables is investigated. The effects of the sediment critical Shields number, sediment density, and ocean current velocity on local scouring are discussed, and variation rules for the submarine cables’ spanning time are provided. The results indicate that three scouring holes are formed around the submarine cables. The location of the bottom of the holes corresponds to that of the maximum shear velocity. The continuous development of scouring holes at the wake position leads to the spanning of the submarine cables. The increase in the sediment’s critical Shields number and sediment density, as well as the decrease in the ocean current velocity, will extend the time for maintaining the stability of the upstream scouring hole and retard the development velocity of the wake position and downstream scouring holes. The spanning time has a cubic relationship with the sediment’s critical Shields number, a linear relationship with the sediment density, and an exponential relationship with the ocean current velocity. In this paper, the local scouring process of semi-exposed submarine cables is studied, which provides a theoretical basis for the operation and maintenance of submarine cables.

Keywords: 

submarine cablelocal scouringnumerical simulationcomputational fluid dynamics

1. Introduction

As a key piece of equipment in cross-sea power grids, submarine cables are widely used to connect autonomous power grids, supply power to islands or offshore platforms, and transmit electric power generated by marine renewable energy installations to onshore substations [1]. Once submarine cables break down due to natural disasters or human-made damage, the normal operation of other marine electric power equipment connected to them may be affected. These chain reactions will cause great economic losses and serious social impacts [2].

To protect submarine cables, they are usually buried 1 to 3 m below the seabed [3]. However, submarine cables are still confronted with potential threats from the complex subsea environment. Under the influence of fishing, anchor damage, ocean current scouring, and other factors, the sediment above submarine cables will always inevitably migrate. When a submarine cable is partially exposed, the scouring at this position will be exacerbated; eventually, it will cause the submarine cable to span. According to a field investigation of the 500 kV oil-filled submarine cable that is part of the Hainan networking system, the total length of the span is 49 m [4]. Under strong ocean currents, spanning submarine cables may experience vortex-induced vibrations. Fatigue stress caused by vortex-induced vibrations may lead to metal sheath rupture [5], which endangers the mechanical and electrical properties of submarine cables. Therefore, understanding the local scouring processes of partially exposed submarine cables is crucial for predicting scouring patterns. This is the basis for developing effective operation and maintenance strategies for submarine cables.

The mechanism and influencing factors of sediment erosion have been examined by researchers around the world. In 1988, Sumer [6] conducted experiments to show that the shedding vortex in the wake of a pipeline would increase the Shields parameter by 3–4 times, which would result in severe scouring. In 1991, Chiew [7] performed experiments to prove that the maximum scouring depth could be obtained when the pipeline was located on a flat bed and was scoured by a unidirectional water flow. Based on the test results, they provided a prediction formula for the maximum scouring depth. In 2003, Mastbergen [8] proposed a one-dimensional, steady-state numerical model of turbidity currents, which considered the negative pore pressures in the seabed. The calculated results of this model were basically consistent with the actual scouring of a submarine canyon. In 2007, Dey [9] presented a semitheoretical model for the computation of the maximum clear-water scour depth below underwater pipelines in uniform sediments under a steady flow, and the predicted scour depth in clear water satisfactorily agreed with the observed values. In 2008, Dey [10] conducted experiments on clear-water scour below underwater pipelines under a steady flow and obtained a variation pattern of the depth of the scouring hole. In 2008, Liang [11] used a two-dimensional numerical simulation to study the scouring process of a tube bundle under the action of currents and waves. They discovered that, compared with the scouring of a single tube, the scouring depth of the tube bundle was deeper, and the scouring time was longer. In 2012, Yang [12] found that placing rubber sheets under pipes can greatly accelerate their self-burial. The rubber sheets had the best performance when their length was about 1.5 times the size of the pipe. In 2020, Li [13] investigated the two-dimensional local scour beneath two submarine pipelines in tandem under wave-plus-current conditions via numerical simulation. They found that for conditions involving waves plus a low-strength current, the scour pattern beneath the two pipelines behaved like that in the pure-wave condition. Conversely, when the current had equal strength to the wave-induced flow, the scour pattern beneath the two pipelines resembled that in the pure-current condition. In 2020, Guan [14] studied and discussed the interactive coupling effects among a vibrating pipeline, flow field, and scour process through experiments, and the experimental data showed that the evolution of the scour hole had significant influences on the pipeline vibrations. In 2021, Liu [15] developed a two-dimensional finite element numerical model and researched the local scour around a vibrating pipeline. The numerical results showed that the maximum vibration amplitude of the pipeline could reach about 1.2 times diameter, and the maximum scour depth occurred on the wake side of the vibrating pipeline. In 2021, Huang [16] carried out two-dimensional numerical simulations to investigate the scour beneath a single pipeline and piggyback pipelines subjected to an oscillatory flow condition at a KC number of 11 and captured typical steady-streaming structures around the pipelines due to the oscillatory flow condition. In 2021, Cui [17] investigated the characteristics of the riverbed scour profile for a pipeline buried at different depths under the condition of riverbed sediments with different particle sizes. The results indicated that, in general, the equilibrium scour depth changed in a spoon shape with the gradual increase in the embedment ratio. In 2022, Li [18] used numerical simulation to study the influence of the burial depth of partially buried pipelines on the surrounding flow field, but they did not investigate the scour depth. In 2022, Zhu [19] performed experiments to prove that the scour hole propagation rate under a pipeline decreases with an increasing pipeline embedment ratio and rises with the KC number. In 2022, Najafzadeh [20] proposed equations for the prediction of the scouring propagation rate around pipelines due to currents based on a machine learning model, and the prediction results were consistent with the experimental data. In 2023, Ma [21] used the computational fluid dynamics coarse-grained discrete element method to simulate the scour process around a pipeline. The results showed that this method can effectively reduce the considerable need for computing resources and excessive computation time. In 2023, through numerical simulations, Hu [22] discovered that the water velocity and the pipeline diameter had a significant effect on the depth of scouring.

In the preceding works, the researchers investigated the mechanism of sediment scouring and the effect of various factors on the local scouring of submarine pipelines. However, submarine cables are buried beneath the seabed, while submarine pipelines are erected above the seabed. The difference in laying methods leads to a large discrepancy between their local scouring processes. Therefore, the conclusions of the above investigations are not applicable to the local scouring of submarine cables. Currently, there is no report on the research of the local scouring of partially exposed submarine cables.

In this paper, a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) finite element model, based on two-phase flow, is established using FLOW-3D. The local scouring process of semi-exposed submarine cables under steady-state ocean currents is studied, and the variation rules of the depth and the shape of the scouring holes, as well as the shear velocity with time, are obtained. By setting different critical Shields numbers of the sediment, different sediment densities, and different ocean current velocities, the change rule of the scouring holes’ development rate and the time required for the spanning of submarine cables are explored.

2. Sediment Scouring Model

In the sediment scouring model, the sediment is set as the dispersed particle, which is regarded as a kind of quasifluid. In this context, sediment scouring is considered as a two-phase flow process between the liquid phase and solid particle phase. The sediment in this process is further divided into two categories: one is suspended in the fluid, and the other is deposited on the bottom.When the local Shields number of sediment is greater than the critical Shields number, the deposited sediment will be transformed into the suspended sediment under the action of ocean currents. The calculation formulae of the local Shields numbers θ and the critical Shields numbers 

θcr of sediment is given as [23,24

]

𝜃=𝑈2𝑓(𝜌𝑠/𝜌𝑓−1)𝑔𝑑50,�=��2(��/��−1)��50,(1)

𝜃𝑐𝑟=0.31+1.2𝐷∗+0.055(1−𝑒−0.02𝐷∗),���=0.31+1.2�*+0.055(1−�−0.02�*),(2)

𝐷∗=𝑑50𝜌𝑓(𝜌𝑠−𝜌𝑓)𝑔/𝜇2−−−−−−−−−−−−−−√3,�*=�50��(��−��)�/�23,(3)where 

Uf is the shearing velocity of bed surface, 

ρs is the density of the sediment particle, 

ρf is the fluid density, g is the acceleration of gravity, d

50 is the median size of sediment, and μ is the dynamic viscosity of sediment.And each sediment particle suspended in the fluid obeys the equations for mass conservation and energy conservation

∂𝑐𝑠∂𝑡+∇⋅(𝑢𝑐𝑠)=0,∂��∂�+∇⋅(�¯��)=0,(4)

∂𝑢𝑠∂𝑡+𝑢⋅∇𝑢𝑠=−1𝜌𝑠∇𝑃+𝐹−𝐾𝑓𝑠𝜌𝑠𝑢𝑟,∂��∂�+�¯⋅∇��=−1��∇�+�−�������,(5)where 

cs is the concentration of the sediment particle, 

𝑢�¯ is the mean velocity vector of the fluid and the sediment particle, 

us is the velocity of the sediment particle, 

fs is the volume fraction of the sediment particle, P is the pressure, F is the volumetric and viscous force, K is the drag force, and 

ur is the relative velocity.

3. Numerical Setup and Modeling

In this paper, a three-dimensional submarine cable local scouring simulation model is established by FLOW-3D. Based on the numerical simulation, the process of the submarine cable, which gradually changes from semi-exposed to the spanning state under the steady-state ocean current, is studied. The geometric modeling, the mesh division, the physical field setup, and the grid independent test of CFD numerical model are as follows.

3.1. Geometric Modeling and Mesh Division

A three-dimensional (3D) numerical model of the local scouring of a semi-exposed submarine cable is established, which is shown in Figure 1. The dimensions of the model are marked in Figure 1. The inlet direction of the ocean current is defined as the upstream of the submarine cable (referred to as upstream), and the outlet direction of the ocean current is defined as the downstream of the submarine cable (referred to as downstream).

Jmse 11 01349 g001 550

Figure 1. Three-dimensional finite element model of local scouring of semi-exposed submarine cable.

The submarine cable with a diameter of 0.2 m is positioned on sediment that is initially in a semi-exposed state. When the length of the span is short, the submarine cable will not show obvious deformation due to gravity or scouring from the ocean current. Therefore, the submarine cable surface is set as the fixed boundary. The model’s left boundary is set as the inlet, the right boundary is set as the outlet, the front and rear boundaries are set as symmetry, and the bottom boundary is set as the non-slip wall. Since the water depth above the submarine cable is more than 0.6 m in practice, the top boundary of the model is also set as symmetry. The sediment near the inlet and the outlet will be carried by ocean currents, which leads to the abnormal scouring terrain. At each end of the sediment, a baffle (thickness of 3 cm) is installed to ensure that the simulation results can reflect the real situation.

Due to the fact that the flow field around the semi-exposed submarine cable is not a simple two-dimensional symmetrical distribution, it should be solved by three-dimensional numerical simulation. Considering the accuracy and efficiency of the calculation, the size of mesh is set to 0.02 m. The total number of meshes after the dissection is 133,254.

3.2. Physical Field Setup

The CFD finite element model contains four physical field modules: sediment scouring module, gravity and non-inertial reference frame module, density evaluation module, and viscosity and turbulence module. In this paper, the renormalization group (RNG) kε turbulence model is used, which has high computational accuracy for turbulent vortices. Therefore, this turbulence model is suitable for calculating the sediment scouring process around the semi-exposed submarine cable [25]. The key parameters of the numerical simulation are referring to the survey results of submarine sediments in the Korean Peninsula [26], as listed in Table 1.Table 1. Key parameters of numerical simulation.

Table

3.3. Mesh Independent Test

In order to eliminate errors caused by the quantity of grids in the calculation process, two sizes of mesh are set on the validation model, and the scour profiles under different mesh sizes are compared. The validation model is shown in Figure 2, and the scouring terrain under different mesh size is given in Figure 3.

Jmse 11 01349 g002 550

Figure 2. Validation model.

Jmse 11 01349 g003 550

Figure 3. Scouring terrain under different mesh sizes.

It can be seen from Figure 3 that with the increase in the number of meshes, the scouring terrain of the verification model changes slightly, and the scouring depth is basically unchanged. Considering the accuracy of the numerical simulation and the calculation’s time cost, it is reasonable to consider setting the mesh size to 0.02 m.

4. Results and Analysis

4.1. Analysis of Local Scouring Process

Based on the CFD finite element numerical simulation, the local scouring process of the submarine cable under the steady-state ocean current is analyzed. The end time of the simulation is 9 h, the initial time step is 0.01 s, and the fluid velocity is 0.40 m/s. Simulation results are saved every minute. Figure 4 illustrates the scouring terrain around the semi-exposed submarine cable, which has been scoured by the steady-state current for 5 h.

Jmse 11 01349 g004 550

Figure 4. Scouring terrain around semi-exposed submarine cable (scour for 5 h).

As can be seen from Figure 4, three scouring holes were separately formed in the upstream wake position and downstream of the semi-exposed submarine cable. The scouring holes are labeled according to their locations. The variation of the scouring terrain around the semi-exposed submarine cable over time is given in Figure 5. The red circle in the picture corresponds to the position of the submarine cable, and the red box in the legend marks the time when the submarine cable is spanning.

Jmse 11 01349 g005 550

Figure 5. Variation of scouring terrain around semi-exposed submarine cable adapted to time.

From Figure 5, in the first hour of scouring, the upstream (−0.5 m to −0.1 m) and downstream (0.43 m to 1.5 m) scouring holes appeared. The upstream scouring hole was relatively flat with depth of 0.04 m. The depth of the downstream scouring hole increased with the increase in distance, and the maximum depth was 0.13 m. The scouring hole that developed at the wake position was very shallow, and its depth was only 0.007 m.

In the second hour of scouring, the upstream scouring hole’s depth remained nearly constant. The depth of the downstream scouring hole only increased by 0.002 m. The scouring hole at the wake position developed steadily, and its depth increased from 0.007 m to 0.014 m.

The upstream and downstream scouring holes did not continue to develop during the third to the sixth hour. Compared to the first two hours, the development of scouring holes at the wake position accelerated significantly, with an average growth rate of 0.028 m/h. The growth rate in the fifth hour of the scouring hole at the wake position was slightly faster than the other times. After 6 h of scouring, the sediment on the right side of the submarine cable had been hollowed out.

In the seventh and the eighth hour of scouring, the upstream scouring hole’s depth increased slightly, the downstream scouring hole still remained stable, and the depth of the scouring hole at wake position increased by 0.019 m. The sediment under the submarine cable was gradually eroded as well. By the end of the eighth hour, the lower right part of the submarine cable had been exposed to water as well.

At 8 h 21 min of the scouring, the submarine cable was completely spanned, and the scouring holes were connected to each other. Within the next 10 min, the development of the scouring holes sped up significantly, and the maximum depth of scouring holes increased greatly to 0.27 m.

In reference [17], researchers have studied the local scouring process of semi-buried pipelines in sandy riverbeds through experiments. The test results show that the scouring process can be divided into a start-up stage, micropore formation stage, extension stage, and equilibrium stage. In this paper, the first three stages are simulated, and the results are in good agreement with the experiment, which proves the accuracy of the present numerical model.

In this research, the velocity of ocean currents at the sediment surface is defined as the shear velocity, which plays an important role in the process of local scouring. Figure 6 provides visual data on how the shear velocity varies over time.

Jmse 11 01349 g006 550

Figure 6. Shear velocity changes in the scouring process.

The semi-exposed submarine cable protrudes from the seabed, which makes the shear velocity of its surface much higher than other locations. After the submarine cable is spanned, the shear velocity of the scouring hole surface below it is taken. This is the reason for the sudden change of shear velocity at the submarine cable’s location in Figure 6.The shear velocity in the initial state of the upstream scouring hole is obviously greater than in subsequent times. After 1 h of scouring, the shear velocity in the upstream scouring hole rapidly decreased from 1.1 × 10

−2 m/s to 3.98 × 10

−3 m/s and remained stable until the end of the sixth hour. This phenomenon explains why the upstream scouring hole developed rapidly in the first hour but remained stable for the following 5 h.The shear velocity in the downstream scouring hole reduced at first and then increased; its initial value was 1.41 × 10

−2 m/s. It took approximately 5 h for the shear velocity to stabilize, and the stable shear velocity was 2.26 × 10

−3 m/s. Therefore, compared with the upstream scouring hole, the downstream scouring hole was deeper and required more time to reach stability.The initial shear velocity in the scouring hole at the wake position was only 7.1 × 10

−3 m/s, which almost does not change in the first hour. This leads to a very slow development of the scouring hole at the wake position in the early stages. The maximum shear velocity in this scouring hole gradually increased to 1.05 × 10

−2 m/s from the second to the fifth hour, and then decreased to 6.61 × 10

−3 m/s by the end of the eighth hour. This is why the scouring hole at the wake position grows fastest around the fifth hour. Consistent with the pattern of change in the scouring hole’s terrain, the location of the maximal shear velocity also shifted to the right with time.

The shear velocity of all three scouring holes rose dramatically in the last hour. Combined with the terrain in Figure 5, this can be attributed to the complete spanning of the submarine cable.

From Equations (3)–(5), one can see the movement of the sediment is related directly with the sediment’s critical Shields number, sediment density, and ocean current velocity. Based on the parameters in Table 1, the influence of the above parameters on the local scouring process of semi-exposed submarine cables will be discussed.

4.2. Influence Factors

4.2.1. Sediment’s Critical Shields Number

The sediment’s critical Shields number 

θcr is set as 0.02, 0.03, 0.04, 0.05, 0.06, and 0.07, and the variations of scouring terrain over time under each 

θcr are displayed in Figure 7.

Jmse 11 01349 g007 550

Figure 7. Influence of sediment’s critical Shields number 

θcr on local scouring around semi-exposed submarine cable: (a

θcr = 0.02; (b

θcr = 0.03; (c

θcr = 0.04; (d

θcr = 0.05; (e

θcr = 0.06; and (f

θcr = 0.07.From Figure 7, one can see that a change in 

θcr will affect the depth of the upstream scouring hole and the development speed of the scouring hole at the wake position, but it will have no significant impact on the expansion of the downstream scouring hole.Under conditions of different 

θcr, the upstream scouring hole will reach a temporary plateau within 1 h, at which time the stable depth will be about 0.04 m. When 

θcr ≤ 0.05, the upstream scouring hole will continue to expand after a few hours. The stable time is obviously affected by 

θcr, which will gradually increase from 1 h to 11 h with the increase in 

θcr. The terrain of the upstream scouring hole will gradually convert to deep on the left and to shallow on the right. Since the scouring hole at the wake position has not been stable, its state at the time of submarine cable spanning is studied emphatically. In the whole process of scouring, the scouring hole at the wake position continues to develop and does not reach a stable state. With the increase in 

θcr, the development velocity of the scouring hole at the wake position will decrease considerably. Its average evolution velocity decreases from 3.88 cm/h to 1.62 cm/h, and its depth decreases from 21.9 cm to 18.8 cm. Under the condition of each 

θcr, the downstream scouring hole will stabilize within 1 h, and the stable depth will be basically unchanged (all about 13.5 cm).As 

θcr increases, so does the sediment’s ability to withstand shearing forces, which will cause it to become increasingly difficult to be eroded or carried away by ocean currents. This effect has been directly reflected in the depth of scouring holes (upstream and wake position). Due to the blocking effect of semi-exposed submarine cables, the wake is elongated, which is why the downstream scouring hole develops before the scouring hole at the wake position and quickly reaches a stable state. However, due to the high wake intensity, this process is not significantly affected by the change of 

θcr.

4.2.2. Sediment Density

The density of sediment 

ρs is set as 1550 kg/m

3, 1600 kg/m

3, 1650 kg/m

3, 1700 kg/m

3, 1750 kg/m

3, and 1800 kg/m

3, and the variation of scouring terrain over time under each 

ρs are displayed in Figure 8.

Jmse 11 01349 g008 550

Figure 8. Influence of sediment density 

ρs on local scouring around semi-exposed submarine cable: (a

ρs = 1550 kg/m

3; (bρs = 1600 kg/m

3; (cρs = 1650 kg/m

3; (dρs = 1700 kg/m

3; (eρs = 1750 kg/m

3; and (f

ρs = 1800 kg/m

3.From Figure 8, one can see that a change in 

ρs will also affect the depth of the upstream scouring hole and the development speed of the scouring hole at the wake position. In addition, it can even have an impact on the downstream scouring hole depth.Under different 

ρs conditions, the upstream scouring hole will always reach a temporary stable state in 1 h, at which time the stable depth will be 0.04 m. When 

ρs ≤ 1750 kg/m

3, the upstream scouring hole will continue to expand after a few hours. The stabilization time of upstream scouring hole is more clearly affected by 

ρs, which will gradually increase from 3 h to 13 h with the increase in 

ρs. The terrain of the upstream scouring hole will gradually change to deep on the left and to shallow on the right. Since the scouring hole at the wake position has not been stable, its state at the time of the submarine cable spanning is studied emphatically, too. In the whole process of scouring, the scouring hole at the wake position continues to develop and does not reach a stable state. When 

ρs is large, the development rate of scouring hole obviously decreased with time. With the increase in 

ρs, the development velocity of the scouring hole at the wake position reduces from 3.38 cm/h to 1.14 cm/h, and the depth of this scouring hole declines from 20 cm to 15 cm. As 

ρs increases, the stabilization time of the downstream scouring hole increases from less than 1 h to about 2 h, but the stabilization depth of the downstream scouring hole remains essentially the same (all around 13.5 cm).As can be seen from Equation (1), the increase in 

ρs will reduce the Shields number, thus weakening the shear action of the sediment by the ocean current, which explains the extension of the stability time of the upstream scouring hole. At the same time, with the increase in the depth of scouring hole at the wake position, its shear velocity will decreases. Therefore, under a larger 

ρs value, the development speed of scouring hole at the wake position will decrease significantly with time. Possibly for the same reason, 

ρs can affect the development rate of downstream scouring hole.

4.2.3. Ocean Current Velocity

The ocean current velocity v is set as 0.35 m/s, 0.40 m/s, 0.45 m/s, 0.50 m/s, 0.55 m/s, and 0.60 m/s. Figure 9 presents the variation in scouring terrain with time for each v.

Jmse 11 01349 g009 550

Figure 9. Influence of ocean current velocity v on local scouring around semi-exposed submarine cable: (av = 0.35 m/s; (bv = 0.40 m/s; (cv = 0.45 m/s; (dv = 0.50 m/s; (ev = 0.55 m/s; and (fv = 0.60 m/s.

Changes in v affect the depth of the upstream and downstream scouring holes, as well as the development velocity of the wake position and downstream scouring holes.

When v ≤ 0.45 m/s, the upstream scouring hole will reach a temporary stable state within 1 h, at which point the stable depth will be 0.04 m. The stabilization time of the upstream scouring hole is affected by v, which will gradually decrease from 15 h to 3 h with the increase in v. When v > 0.45 m/s, the upstream scouring hole is going to expand continuously. With the increase in v, its average development velocity increases from 6.68 cm/h to 8.66 cm/h, and its terrain changes to deep on the left and to shallow on the right. When the submarine cable is spanning, special attention should be paid to the depth of the scouring hole at the wake position. Throughout whole scouring process, the scouring hole at the wake position continues to develop and does not reach a stable state. With the increase in v, the depth of scouring hole at the wake position will increase from 14 cm to 20 cm, and the average development velocity will increase from 0.91 cm/h to 10.43 cm/h. As v increases, the time required to stabilize the downstream scouring hole is shortened from 1to 2 h to less than 1 h, but the stable depth is remains nearly constant at 13.5 cm.

An increase in v will increase the shear velocity. Therefore, when the depth of the scouring hole increases, the shear velocity in the hole will also increase, which can deepen both the upstream and downstream scouring hole. According to Equation (1), the Shields number is proportional to the square of the shear velocity. The increase in shear velocity significantly intensifies local scouring, which increases the development rate of scouring holes at the wake position and downstream.

4.3. Variation Rule of Spanning Time

In this paper, the spanning time is defined as the time taken for a semi-exposed submarine cable (initial state) to become a spanning submarine cable. Figure 10 illustrates the effect of the above parameters on the spanning time of the semi-exposed submarine cable.

Jmse 11 01349 g010 550

Figure 10. Influence of different parameters on spanning time of the semi-exposed submarine cable: (a) Sediment critical Shields number; (b) Sediment density; and (c) Ocean current velocity.From Figure 10a, the spanning time monotonically increases with the increase in the critical Shields number of sediment. However, the slope of the curve decreases first and then increases, and the inflection point is at 

θcr = 4.59 × 10

−2. The relationship between spanning time t and sediment’s critical Shields number 

θcr can be formulated by a cubic function as shown in Equation (6):

𝑡=−2.98+6.76𝜃𝑐𝑟−1.45𝜃2𝑐𝑟+0.11𝜃3𝑐𝑟.�=−2.98+6.76���−1.45���2+0.11���3.(6)It can be seen from Figure 10b that with the increase in the sediment density, the spanning time increases monotonically and linearly. The relationship between the spanning time t and the sediment’s density 

ρs can be formulated by the first order function as shown in Equation (7):

𝑡=−41.59+30.54𝜌𝑠.�=−41.59+30.54��.(7)Figure 10c shows that with the increase in the ocean current velocity, the spanning time decreases monotonically. The slope of the curve increases with the increase in the ocean current velocity, so it can be considered that there is saturation of the ocean current velocity effect. The relationship between the spanning time t and the ocean current velocity v can be formulated by the exponential function

𝑡=0.15𝑣−4.38.�=0.15�−4.38.(8)

5. Conclusions

In this paper, a three-dimensional CFD finite element numerical simulation model is established, which is used to research the local scouring process of the semi-exposed submarine cable under the steady-state ocean current. The relationship between shear velocity and scouring terrain is discussed, the influence of sediment critical Shields number, sediment density and ocean current velocity on the local scouring process is analyzed, and the variation rules of the spanning time of the semi-exposed submarine cable is given. The conclusions are as follows:

  • Under the steady-state ocean currents, scouring holes will be formed at the upstream, wake position and downstream of the semi-exposed submarine cable. The upstream and downstream scouring holes develop faster, which will reach a temporary stable state at about 1 h after the start of the scouring. The scouring hole at the wake position will continue to expand at a slower rate and eventually lead to the spanning of the submarine cable.
  • There is a close relationship between the distribution of shear velocity and the scouring terrain. As the local scouring process occurs, the location of the maximum shear velocity within the scouring hole shifts and causes the bottom of the hole to move as well.
  • When the sediment’s critical Shields number and density are significantly large and ocean current velocity is sufficiently low, the duration of the stable state of the upstream scouring hole will be prolonged, and the average development velocity of the scouring holes at the wake position and downstream will be reduced.
  • The relationship between the spanning time and the critical Shields number θcr can be formulated as a cubic function, in which the curve’s inflection point is θcr = 4.59 × 10−2. The relationship between spanning time and sediment density can be formulated as a linear function. The relationship between spanning time and ocean current velocity can be formulated by exponential function.

Based on the conclusions of this paper, even when it is too late to take measures or when the exposed position of the submarine cable cannot be located, the degree of burial depth development still can be predicted. This prediction is important for the operation and maintenance of the submarine cable. However, the study still leaves something to be desired. Only the local scouring process under the steady-state ocean current was studied, which is an extreme condition. In practice, exposed submarine cables are more likely to be scoured by reciprocating ocean currents. In the future, we will investigate the local scouring of submarine cables under the reciprocating ocean current.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, Y.H. and Q.L.; methodology, Q.L., P.Z. and H.T.; software, Q.L.; validation, Q.L., L.C. and W.T.; writing—original draft preparation, Q.L.; writing—review and editing, Y.H. and Q.L.; supervision, Y.H. and L.Y. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Funding

This research was funded by the [Smart Grid Joint Fund Key Project between National Natural Science Foundation of China and State Grid Corporation] grant number [U1766220].

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

The data supporting the reported results cannot be shared at this time, as they have been used in producing more publications on this research.

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by the Smart Grid Joint Fund Key Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and State Grid Corporation (Grant No. U1766220).

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Intrusion of fine sediments into river bed and its effect on river environment – a research review

미세한 퇴적물이 강바닥에 침투하고 하천 환경에 미치는 영향 – 연구 검토

Intrusion of fine sediments into river bed and its effect on river environment – a research review

Nilav Karna,K.S. Hari Prasad, Sanjay Giri & A.S. Lodhi

Abstract

Fine sediments enter into the river through various sources such as channel bed, bank, and catchment. It has been regarded as a type of pollution in river. Fine sediments present in a river have a significant effect on river health. Benthic micro-organism, plants, and large fishes, all are part of food chain of river biota. Any detrimental effect on any of these components of food chain misbalances the entire riverine ecosystem. Numerous studies have been carried out on the various environmental aspects of rivers considering the presence of fine sediment in river flow. The present paper critically reviews many of these aspects to understand the various environmental impacts of suspended sediment on river health, flora and fauna.

Keywords: 

  1. Introduction
    The existence of fine sediment in a river system is a natural phenomenon. But in many cases it is exacerbated by the manmade activities. The natural cause of fines being in flow generally keeps the whole system in equilibrium except during some calamites whereas anthropogenic activities leading to fines entering into the flow puts several adverse impacts on the entire river system and its ecology. Presence of fines in flow is considered as a type of pollution in water. In United States,
    the fine sediment in water along with other non point source pollution is considered as a major obstacle in providing quality water for fishes and recreation activities (Diplas and Parker 1985).
    Sediments in a river are broadly of two types, organic and inorganic, and they both move in two ways either along the bed of the channel called bed load or in suspension called suspended load and their movements depend upon fluid flow and sediment characteristics. Further many investigators have divided the materials in suspension into two different types.
    One which originates from channel bed and bank is called bed material suspended load and another that migrates from feeding catchment area is called wash load. A general perception is that wash loads are very fine materials like clay, silt but it may not always be true (Woo et al. 1986). In general, suspended materials are of size less than 2 mm. The impact of sand on the various aspects of river is comparatively less than that of silt and clay. The latter are chemically active and good carrier of many contaminants and nutrients such as dioxins, phosphorous, heavy and trace metals, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), radionuclide, etc. (Foster and Charlesworth 1996; Horowitz et al. 1995; Owens et al. 2001; Salomons and Förstner 1984; Stone and Droppo 1994; Thoms 1987). Foy and Bailey-Watt (1998) reported that out of 129 lakes in England and Wales, 69% have phosphorous contamination. Ten percent lakes, rivers, and bays of United States have sediment contaminants with chemicals as reported by USEPA. Several field and experimental studies have been conducted
    considering, sand, silt, and clay as suspended material. Hence, the subject reported herein is based on considering the fine sediment size smaller than 2 mm.
    Fine sediments have the ability to alter the hydraulics of the flow. Presence of fines in flow can change the magnitude of turbulence, it can change the friction resistance to flow. Fines can change the mobility and permeability of the bed material. In some extreme cases, fines in flow may even change the morphology of the river (Doeg and Koehn 1994; Nuttall 1972; Wright and Berrie 1987). Fines in the flow adversely affect the producer by increasing the turbidity, hindering the
    photosynthesis process by limiting the light penetration. This is ultimately reflected in the entire food ecosystem of river (Davis-Colley et al. 1992; Van Niewenhuyre and Laparrieve 1986). In addition, abrasion due to flowing sediment kills the aquatic flora (Edwards 1969; Brookes 1986). Intrusion of fines into the pores of river bed reduces space for several invertebrates, affects the spawning process (Petts 1984; Richards and Bacon 1994; Schalchli 1992). There are several other direct
    or indirect, short-term or long-term impacts of fines in river.
    The present paper reports the physical/environmental significance of fines in river. The hydraulic significance of presence of fines in the river has been reviewed in another paper (Effect of fine sediments on river hydraulics – a research review – http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09715010.2014.982001).

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Figure 11. Sketch of scour mechanism around USAF under random waves.

Scour Characteristics and Equilibrium Scour Depth Prediction around Umbrella Suction Anchor Foundation under Random Waves

by Ruigeng Hu 1,Hongjun Liu 2,Hao Leng 1,Peng Yu 3 andXiuhai Wang 1,2,*

1College of Environmental Science and Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266000, China

2Key Lab of Marine Environment and Ecology (Ocean University of China), Ministry of Education, Qingdao 266000, China

3Qingdao Geo-Engineering Survering Institute, Qingdao 266100, China

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 20219(8), 886; https://doi.org/10.3390/jmse9080886

Received: 6 July 2021 / Revised: 8 August 2021 / Accepted: 13 August 2021 / Published: 17 August 2021

(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Engineering)

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Abstract

A series of numerical simulation were conducted to study the local scour around umbrella suction anchor foundation (USAF) under random waves. In this study, the validation was carried out firstly to verify the accuracy of the present model. Furthermore, the scour evolution and scour mechanism were analyzed respectively. In addition, two revised models were proposed to predict the equilibrium scour depth Seq around USAF. At last, a parametric study was carried out to study the effects of the Froude number Fr and Euler number Eu for the Seq. The results indicate that the present numerical model is accurate and reasonable for depicting the scour morphology under random waves. The revised Raaijmakers’s model shows good agreement with the simulating results of the present study when KCs,p < 8. The predicting results of the revised stochastic model are the most favorable for n = 10 when KCrms,a < 4. The higher Fr and Eu both lead to the more intensive horseshoe vortex and larger Seq.

Keywords: 

scournumerical investigationrandom wavesequilibrium scour depthKC number

1. Introduction

The rapid expansion of cities tends to cause social and economic problems, such as environmental pollution and traffic jam. As a kind of clean energy, offshore wind power has developed rapidly in recent years. The foundation of offshore wind turbine (OWT) supports the upper tower, and suffers the cyclic loading induced by waves, tides and winds, which exerts a vital influence on the OWT system. The types of OWT foundation include the fixed and floating foundation, and the fixed foundation was used usually for nearshore wind turbine. After the construction of fixed foundation, the hydrodynamic field changes in the vicinity of the foundation, leading to the horseshoe vortex formation and streamline compression at the upside and sides of foundation respectively [1,2,3,4]. As a result, the neighboring soil would be carried away by the shear stress induced by vortex, and the scour hole would emerge in the vicinity of foundation. The scour holes increase the cantilever length, and weaken the lateral bearing capacity of foundation [5,6,7,8,9]. Moreover, the natural frequency of OWT system increases with the increase of cantilever length, causing the resonance occurs when the system natural frequency equals the wave or wind frequency [10,11,12]. Given that, an innovative foundation called umbrella suction anchor foundation (USAF) has been designed for nearshore wind power. The previous studies indicated the USAF was characterized by the favorable lateral bearing capacity with the low cost [6,13,14]. The close-up of USAF is shown in Figure 1, and it includes six parts: 1-interal buckets, 2-external skirt, 3-anchor ring, 4-anchor branch, 5-supporting rod, 6-telescopic hook. The detailed description and application method of USAF can be found in reference [13].

Jmse 09 00886 g001 550

Figure 1. The close-up of umbrella suction anchor foundation (USAF).

Numerical and experimental investigations of scour around OWT foundation under steady currents and waves have been extensively studied by many researchers [1,2,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24]. The seabed scour can be classified as two types according to Shields parameter θ, i.e., clear bed scour (θ < θcr) or live bed scour (θ > θcr). Due to the set of foundation, the adverse hydraulic pressure gradient exists at upstream foundation edges, resulting in the streamline separation between boundary layer flow and seabed. The separating boundary layer ascended at upstream anchor edges and developed into the horseshoe vortex. Then, the horseshoe vortex moved downstream gradually along the periphery of the anchor, and the vortex shed off continually at the lee-side of the anchor, i.e., wake vortex. The core of wake vortex is a negative pressure center, liking a vacuum cleaner. Hence, the soil particles were swirled into the negative pressure core and carried away by wake vortexes. At the same time, the onset of scour at rear side occurred. Finally, the wake vortex became downflow when the turbulence energy could not support the survival of wake vortex. According to Tavouktsoglou et al. [25], the scale of pile wall boundary layer is proportional to 1/ln(Rd) (Rd is pile Reynolds), which means the turbulence intensity induced by the flow-structure interaction would decrease with Rd increases, but the effects of Rd can be neglected only if the flow around the foundation is fully turbulent [26]. According to previous studies [1,15,27,28,29,30,31,32], the scour development around pile foundation under waves was significantly influenced by Shields parameter θ and KC number simultaneously (calculated by Equation (1)). Sand ripples widely existed around pile under waves in the case of live bed scour, and the scour morphology is related with θ and KC. Compared with θKC has a greater influence on the scour morphology [21,27,28]. The influence mechanism of KC on the scour around the pile is reflected in two aspects: the horseshoe vortex at upstream and wake vortex shedding at downstream.

KC=UwmTD��=�wm��(1)

where, Uwm is the maximum velocity of the undisturbed wave-induced oscillatory flow at the sea bottom above the wave boundary layer, T is wave period, and D is pile diameter.

There are two prerequisites to satisfy the formation of horseshoe vortex at upstream pile edges: (1) the incoming flow boundary layer with sufficient thickness and (2) the magnitude of upstream adverse pressure gradient making the boundary layer separating [1,15,16,18,20]. The smaller KC results the lower adverse pressure gradient, and the boundary layer cannot separate, herein, there is almost no horseshoe vortex emerging at upside of pile. Sumer et al. [1,15] carried out several sets of wave flume experiments under regular and irregular waves respectively, and the experiment results show that there is no horseshoe vortex when KC is less than 6. While the scale and lifespan of horseshoe vortex increase evidently with the increase of KC when KC is larger than 6. Moreover, the wake vortex contributes to the scour at lee-side of pile. Similar with the case of horseshoe vortex, there is no wake vortex when KC is less than 6. The wake vortex is mainly responsible for scour around pile when KC is greater than 6 and less than O(100), while horseshoe vortex controls scour nearly when KC is greater than O(100).

Sumer et al. [1] found that the equilibrium scour depth was nil around pile when KC was less than 6 under regular waves for live bed scour, while the equilibrium scour depth increased with the increase of KC. Based on that, Sumer proposed an equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (2)). Carreiras et al. [33] revised Sumer’s equation with m = 0.06 for nonlinear waves. Different with the findings of Sumer et al. [1] and Carreiras et al. [33], Corvaro et al. [21] found the scour still occurred for KC ≈ 4, and proposed the revised equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (3)) for KC > 4.

Rudolph and Bos [2] conducted a series of wave flume experiments to investigate the scour depth around monopile under waves only, waves and currents combined respectively, indicting KC was one of key parameters in influencing equilibrium scour depth, and proposed the equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (4)) for low KC (1 < KC < 10). Through analyzing the extensive data from published literatures, Raaijmakers and Rudolph [34] developed the equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (5)) for low KC, which was suitable for waves only, waves and currents combined. Khalfin [35] carried out several sets of wave flume experiments to study scour development around monopile, and proposed the equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (6)) for low KC (0.1 < KC < 3.5). Different with above equations, the Khalfin’s equation considers the Shields parameter θ and KC number simultaneously in predicting equilibrium scour depth. The flow reversal occurred under through in one wave period, so sand particles would be carried away from lee-side of pile to upside, resulting in sand particles backfilled into the upstream scour hole [20,29]. Considering the backfilling effects, Zanke et al. [36] proposed the equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (7)) around pile by theoretical analysis, and the equation is suitable for the whole range of KC number under regular waves and currents combined.

S/D=1.3(1−exp([−m(KC−6)])�/�=1.3(1−exp(−�(��−6))(2)

where, m = 0.03 for linear waves.

S/D=1.3(1−exp([−0.02(KC−4)])�/�=1.3(1−exp(−0.02(��−4))(3)

S/D=1.3γKwaveKhw�/�=1.3��wave�ℎw(4)

where, γ is safety factor, depending on design process, typically γ = 1.5, Kwave is correction factor considering wave action, Khw is correction factor considering water depth.

S/D=1.5[tanh(hwD)]KwaveKhw�/�=1.5tanh(ℎw�)�wave�ℎw(5)

where, hw is water depth.

S/D=0.0753(θθcr−−−√−0.5)0.69KC0.68�/�=0.0753(��cr−0.5)0.69��0.68(6)

where, θ is shields parameter, θcr is critical shields parameter.

S/D=2.5(1−0.5u/uc)xrelxrel=xeff/(1+xeff)xeff=0.03(1−0.35ucr/u)(KC−6)⎫⎭⎬⎪⎪�/�=2.5(1−0.5�/��)��������=����/(1+����)����=0.03(1−0.35�cr/�)(��−6)(7)

where, u is near-bed orbital velocity amplitude, uc is critical velocity corresponding the onset of sediment motion.

S/D=1.3{1−exp[−0.03(KC2lnn+36)1/2−6]}�/�=1.31−exp−0.03(��2ln�+36)1/2−6(8)

where, n is the 1/n’th highest wave for random waves

For predicting equilibrium scour depth under irregular waves, i.e., random waves, Sumer and Fredsøe [16] found it’s suitable to take Equation (2) to predict equilibrium scour depth around pile under random waves with the root-mean-square (RMS) value of near-bed orbital velocity amplitude Um and peak wave period TP to calculate KC. Khalfin [35] recommended the RMS wave height Hrms and peak wave period TP were used to calculate KC for Equation (6). References [37,38,39,40] developed a series of stochastic theoretical models to predict equilibrium scour depth around pile under random waves, nonlinear random waves plus currents respectively. The stochastic approach thought the 1/n’th highest wave were responsible for scour in vicinity of pile under random waves, and the KC was calculated in Equation (8) with Um and mean zero-crossing wave period Tz. The results calculated by Equation (8) agree well with experimental values of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] if the 1/10′th highest wave was used. To author’s knowledge, the stochastic approach proposed by Myrhaug and Rue [37] is the only theoretical model to predict equilibrium scour depth around pile under random waves for the whole range of KC number in published documents. Other methods of predicting scour depth under random waves are mainly originated from the equation for regular waves-only, waves and currents combined, which are limited to the large KC number, such as KC > 6 for Equation (2) and KC > 4 for Equation (3) respectively. However, situations with relatively low KC number (KC < 4) often occur in reality, for example, monopile or suction anchor for OWT foundations in ocean environment. Moreover, local scour around OWT foundations under random waves has not yet been investigated fully. Therefore, further study are still needed in the aspect of scour around OWT foundations with low KC number under random waves. Given that, this study presents the scour sediment model around umbrella suction anchor foundation (USAF) under random waves. In this study, a comparison of equilibrium scour depth around USAF between this present numerical models and the previous theoretical models and experimental results was presented firstly. Then, this study gave a comprehensive analysis for the scour mechanisms around USAF. After that, two revised models were proposed according to the model of Raaijmakers and Rudolph [34] and the stochastic model developed by Myrhaug and Rue [37] respectively to predict the equilibrium scour depth. Finally, a parametric study was conducted to study the effects of the Froude number (Fr) and Euler number (Eu) to equilibrium scour depth respectively.

2. Numerical Method

2.1. Governing Equations of Flow

The following equations adopted in present model are already available in Flow 3D software. The authors used these theoretical equations to simulate scour in random waves without modification. The incompressible viscous fluid motion satisfies the Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) equation, so the present numerical model solves RANS equations:

∂u∂t+1VF(uAx∂u∂x+vAy∂u∂y+wAz∂u∂z)=−1ρf∂p∂x+Gx+fx∂�∂�+1��(���∂�∂�+���∂�∂�+���∂�∂�)=−1�f∂�∂�+��+��(9)

∂v∂t+1VF(uAx∂v∂x+vAy∂v∂y+wAz∂v∂z)=−1ρf∂p∂y+Gy+fy∂�∂�+1��(���∂�∂�+���∂�∂�+���∂�∂�)=−1�f∂�∂�+��+��(10)

∂w∂t+1VF(uAx∂w∂x+vAy∂w∂y+wAz∂w∂z)=−1ρf∂p∂z+Gz+fz∂�∂�+1��(���∂�∂�+���∂�∂�+���∂�∂�)=−1�f∂�∂�+��+��(11)

where, VF is the volume fraction; uv, and w are the velocity components in xyz direction respectively with Cartesian coordinates; Ai is the area fraction; ρf is the fluid density, fi is the viscous fluid acceleration, Gi is the fluid body acceleration (i = xyz).

2.2. Turbulent Model

The turbulence closure is available by the turbulent model, such as one-equation, the one-equation k-ε model, the standard k-ε model, RNG k-ε turbulent model and large eddy simulation (LES) model. The LES model requires very fine mesh grid, so the computational time is large, which hinders the LES model application in engineering. The RNG k-ε model can reduce computational time greatly with high accuracy in the near-wall region. Furthermore, the RNG k-ε model computes the maximum turbulent mixing length dynamically in simulating sediment scour model. Therefore, the RNG k-ε model was adopted to study the scour around anchor under random waves [41,42].

∂kT∂T+1VF(uAx∂kT∂x+vAy∂kT∂y+wAz∂kT∂z)=PT+GT+DiffkT−εkT∂��∂�+1��(���∂��∂�+���∂��∂�+���∂��∂�)=��+��+������−���(12)

∂εT∂T+1VF(uAx∂εT∂x+vAy∂εT∂y+wAz∂εT∂z)=CDIS1εTkT(PT+CDIS3GT)+Diffε−CDIS2ε2TkT∂��∂�+1��(���∂��∂�+���∂��∂�+���∂��∂�)=����1����(��+����3��)+�����−����2��2��(13)

where, kT is specific kinetic energy involved with turbulent velocity, GT is the turbulent energy generated by buoyancy; εT is the turbulent energy dissipating rate, PT is the turbulent energy, Diffε and DiffkT are diffusion terms associated with VFAiCDIS1CDIS2 and CDIS3 are dimensionless parameters, and CDIS1CDIS3 have default values of 1.42, 0.2 respectively. CDIS2 can be obtained from PT and kT.

2.3. Sediment Scour Model

The sand particles may suffer four processes under waves, i.e., entrainment, bed load transport, suspended load transport, and deposition, so the sediment scour model should depict the above processes efficiently. In present numerical simulation, the sediment scour model includes the following aspects:

2.3.1. Entrainment and Deposition

The combination of entrainment and deposition determines the net scour rate of seabed in present sediment scour model. The entrainment lift velocity of sand particles was calculated as [43]:

ulift,i=αinsd0.3∗(θ−θcr)1.5∥g∥di(ρi−ρf)ρf−−−−−−−−−−−−√�lift,i=�����*0.3(�−�cr)1.5���(��−�f)�f(14)

where, αi is the entrainment parameter, ns is the outward point perpendicular to the seabed, d* is the dimensionless diameter of sand particles, which was calculated by Equation (15), θcr is the critical Shields parameter, g is the gravity acceleration, di is the diameter of sand particles, ρi is the density of seabed species.

d∗=di(∥g∥ρf(ρi−ρf)μ2f)1/3�*=��(��f(��−�f)�f2)1/3(15)

where μf is the fluid dynamic viscosity.

In Equation (14), the entrainment parameter αi confirms the rate at which sediment erodes when the given shear stress is larger than the critical shear stress, and the recommended value 0.018 was adopted according to the experimental data of Mastbergen and Von den Berg [43]. ns is the outward pointing normal to the seabed interface, and ns = (0,0,1) according to the Cartesian coordinates used in present numerical model.

The shields parameter was obtained from the following equation:

θ=U2f,m(ρi/ρf−1)gd50�=�f,m2(��/�f−1)��50(16)

where, Uf,m is the maximum value of the near-bed friction velocity; d50 is the median diameter of sand particles. The detailed calculation procedure of θ was available in Soulsby [44].

The critical shields parameter θcr was obtained from the Equation (17) [44]

θcr=0.31+1.2d∗+0.055[1−exp(−0.02d∗)]�cr=0.31+1.2�*+0.0551−exp(−0.02�*)(17)

The sand particles begin to deposit on seabed when the turbulence energy weaken and cann’t support the particles suspending. The setting velocity of the particles was calculated from the following equation [44]:

usettling,i=νfdi[(10.362+1.049d3∗)0.5−10.36]�settling,�=�f��(10.362+1.049�*3)0.5−10.36(18)

where νf is the fluid kinematic viscosity.

2.3.2. Bed Load Transport

This is called bed load transport when the sand particles roll or bounce over the seabed and always have contact with seabed. The bed load transport velocity was computed by [45]:

ubedload,i=qb,iδicb,ifb�bedload,�=�b,����b,��b(19)

where, qb,i is the bed load transport rate, which was obtained from Equation (20), δi is the bed load thickness, which was calculated by Equation (21), cb,i is the volume fraction of sand i in the multiple species, fb is the critical packing fraction of the seabed.

qb,i=8[∥g∥(ρi−ρfρf)d3i]1/2�b,�=8�(��−�f�f)��31/2(20)

δi=0.3d0.7∗(θθcr−1)0.5di��=0.3�*0.7(��cr−1)0.5��(21)

2.3.3. Suspended Load Transport

Through the following transport equation, the suspended sediment concentration could be acquired.

∂Cs,i∂t+∇(us,iCs,i)=∇∇(DfCs,i)∂�s,�∂�+∇(�s,��s,�)=∇∇(�f�s,�)(22)

where, Cs,i is the suspended sand particles mass concentration of sand i in the multiple species, us,i is the sand particles velocity of sand iDf is the diffusivity.

The velocity of sand i in the multiple species could be obtained from the following equation:

us,i=u¯¯+usettling,ics,i�s,�=�¯+�settling,��s,�(23)

where, u¯�¯ is the velocity of mixed fluid-particles, which can be calculated by the RANS equation with turbulence model, cs,i is the suspended sand particles volume concentration, which was computed from Equation (24).

cs,i=Cs,iρi�s,�=�s,���(24)

3. Model Setup

The seabed-USAF-wave three-dimensional scour numerical model was built using Flow-3D software. As shown in Figure 2, the model includes sandy seabed, USAF model, sea water, two baffles and porous media. The dimensions of USAF are shown in Table 1. The sandy bed (210 m in length, 30 m in width and 11 m in height) is made up of uniform fine sand with median diameter d50 = 0.041 cm. The USAF model includes upper steel tube with the length of 20 m, which was installed in the middle of seabed. The location of USAF is positioned at 140 m from the upstream inflow boundary and 70 m from the downstream outflow boundary. Two baffles were installed at two ends of seabed. In order to eliminate the wave reflection basically, the porous media was set at the outflow side on the seabed.

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Figure 2. (a) The sketch of seabed-USAF-wave three-dimensional model; (b) boundary condation:Wv-wave boundary, S-symmetric boundary, O-outflow boundary; (c) USAF model.

Table 1. Numerical simulating cases.

Table

3.1. Mesh Geometric Dimensions

In the simulation of the scour under the random waves, the model includes the umbrella suction anchor foundation, seabed and fluid. As shown in Figure 3, the model mesh includes global mesh grid and nested mesh grid, and the total number of grids is 1,812,000. The basic procedure for building mesh grid consists of two steps. Step 1: Divide the global mesh using regular hexahedron with size of 0.6 × 0.6. The global mesh area is cubic box, embracing the seabed and whole fluid volume, and the dimensions are 210 m in length, 30 m in width and 32 m in height. The details of determining the grid size can see the following mesh sensitivity section. Step 2: Set nested fine mesh grid in vicinity of the USAF with size of 0.3 × 0.3 so as to shorten the computation cost and improve the calculation accuracy. The encryption range is −15 m to 15 m in x direction, −15 m to 15 m in y direction and 0 m to 32 m in z direction, respectively. In order to accurately capture the free-surface dynamics, such as the fluid-air interface, the volume of fluid (VOF) method was adopted for tracking the free water surface. One specific algorithm called FAVORTM (Fractional Area/Volume Obstacle Representation) was used to define the fractional face areas and fractional volumes of the cells which are open to fluid flow.

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Figure 3. The sketch of mesh grid.

3.2. Boundary Conditions

As shown in Figure 2, the initial fluid length is 210 m as long as seabed. A wave boundary was specified at the upstream offshore end. The details of determining the random wave spectrum can see the following wave parameters section. The outflow boundary was set at the downstream onshore end. The symmetry boundary was used at the top and two sides of the model. The symmetric boundaries were the better strategy to improve the computation efficiency and save the calculation cost [46]. At the seabed bottom, the wall boundary was adopted, which means the u = v = w= 0. Besides, the upper steel tube of USAF was set as no-slip condition.

3.3. Wave Parameters

The random waves with JONSWAP wave spectrum were used for all simulations as realistic representation of offshore conditions. The unidirectional JONSWAP frequency spectrum was described as [47]:

S(ω)=αg2ω5exp[−54(ωpω)4]γexp[−(ω−ωp)22σ2ω2p]�(�)=��2�5exp−54(�p�)4�exp−(�−�p)22�2�p2(25)

where, α is wave energy scale parameter, which is calculated by Equation (26), ω is frequency, ωp is wave spectrum peak frequency, which can be obtained from Equation (27). γ is wave spectrum peak enhancement factor, in this study γ = 3.3. σ is spectral width factor, σ equals 0.07 for ω ≤ ωp and 0.09 for ω > ωp respectively.

α=0.0076(gXU2)−0.22�=0.0076(���2)−0.22(26)

ωp=22(gU)(gXU2)−0.33�p=22(��)(���2)−0.33(27)

where, X is fetch length, U is average wind velocity at 10 m height from mean sea level.

In present numerical model, the input key parameters include X and U for wave boundary with JONSWAP wave spectrum. The objective wave height and period are available by different combinations of X and U. In this study, we designed 9 cases with different wave heights, periods and water depths for simulating scour around USAF under random waves (see Table 2). For random waves, the wave steepness ε and Ursell number Ur were acquired form Equations (28) and (29) respectively

ε=2πgHsT2a�=2���s�a2(28)

Ur=Hsk2h3w�r=�s�2ℎw3(29)

where, Hs is significant wave height, Ta is average wave period, k is wave number, hw is water depth. The Shield parameter θ satisfies θ > θcr for all simulations in current study, indicating the live bed scour prevails.

Table 2. Numerical simulating cases.

Table

3.4. Mesh Sensitivity

In this section, a mesh sensitivity analysis was conducted to investigate the influence of mesh grid size to results and make sure the calculation is mesh size independent and converged. Three mesh grid size were chosen: Mesh 1—global mesh grid size of 0.75 × 0.75, nested fine mesh grid size of 0.4 × 0.4, and total number of grids 1,724,000, Mesh 2—global mesh grid size of 0.6 × 0.6, nested fine mesh grid size of 0.3 × 0.3, and total number of grids 1,812,000, Mesh 3—global mesh grid size of 0.4 × 0.4, nested fine mesh grid size of 0.2 × 0.2, and total number of grids 1,932,000. The near-bed shear velocity U* is an important factor for influencing scour process [1,15], so U* at the position of (4,0,11.12) was evaluated under three mesh sizes. As the Figure 4 shown, the maximum error of shear velocity ∆U*1,2 is about 39.8% between the mesh 1 and mesh 2, and 4.8% between the mesh 2 and mesh 3. According to the mesh sensitivity criterion adopted by Pang et al. [48], it’s reasonable to think the results are mesh size independent and converged with mesh 2. Additionally, the present model was built according to prototype size, and the mesh size used in present model is larger than the mesh size adopted by Higueira et al. [49] and Corvaro et al. [50]. If we choose the smallest cell size, it will take too much time. For example, the simulation with Mesh3 required about 260 h by using a computer with Intel Xeon Scalable Gold 4214 CPU @24 Cores, 2.2 GHz and 64.00 GB RAM. Therefore, in this case, considering calculation accuracy and computation efficiency, the mesh 2 was chosen for all the simulation in this study.

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Figure 4. Comparison of near-bed shear velocity U* with different mesh grid size.

The nested mesh block was adopted for seabed in vicinity of the USAF, which was overlapped with the global mesh block. When two mesh blocks overlap each other, the governing equations are by default solved on the mesh block with smaller average cell size (i.e., higher grid resolution). It is should be noted that the Flow 3D software used the moving mesh captures the scour evolution and automatically adjusts the time step size to be as large as possible without exceeding any of the stability limits, affecting accuracy, or unduly increasing the effort required to enforce the continuity condition [51].

3.5. Model Validation

In order to verify the reliability of the present model, the results of present study were compared with the experimental data of Khosronejad et al. [52]. The experiment was conducted in an open channel with a slender vertical pile under unidirectional currents. The comparison of scour development between the present results and the experimental results is shown in Figure 5. The Figure 5 reveals that the present results agree well with the experimental data of Khosronejad et al. [52]. In the first stage, the scour depth increases rapidly. After that, the scour depth achieves a maximum value gradually. The equilibrium scour depth calculated by the present model is basically corresponding with the experimental results of Khosronejad et al. [52], although scour depth in the present model is slightly larger than the experimental results at initial stage.

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Figure 5. Comparison of time evolution of scour between the present study and Khosronejad et al. [52], Petersen et al. [17].

Secondly, another comparison was further conducted between the results of present study and the experimental data of Petersen et al. [17]. The experiment was carried out in a flume with a circular vertical pile in combined waves and current. Figure 4 shows a comparison of time evolution of scour depth between the simulating and the experimental results. As Figure 5 indicates, the scour depth in this study has good overall agreement with the experimental results proposed in Petersen et al. [17]. The equilibrium scour depth calculated by the present model is 0.399 m, which equals to the experimental value basically. Overall, the above verifications prove the present model is accurate and capable in dealing with sediment scour under waves.

In addition, in order to calibrate and validate the present model for hydrodynamic parameters, the comparison of water surface elevation was carried out with laboratory experiments conducted by Stahlmann [53] for wave gauge No. 3. The Figure 6 depicts the surface wave profiles between experiments and numerical model results. The comparison indicates that there is a good agreement between the model results and experimental values, especially the locations of wave crest and trough. Comparison of the surface elevation instructs the present model has an acceptable relative error, and the model is a calibrated in terms of the hydrodynamic parameters.

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Figure 6. Comparison of surface elevation between the present study and Stahlmann [53].

Finally, another comparison was conducted for equilibrium scour depth or maximum scour depth under random waves with the experimental data of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Schendel et al. [22]. The Figure 7 shows the comparison between the numerical results and experimental data of Run01, Run05, Run21 and Run22 in Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and test A05 and A09 in Schendel et al. [22]. As shown in Figure 7, the equilibrium scour depth or maximum scour depth distributed within the ±30 error lines basically, meaning the reliability and accuracy of present model for predicting equilibrium scour depth around foundation in random waves. However, compared with the experimental values, the present model overestimated the equilibrium scour depth generally. Given that, a calibration for scour depth was carried out by multiplying the mean reduced coefficient 0.85 in following section.

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Figure 7. Comparison of equilibrium (or maximum) scour depth between the present study and Sumer and Fredsøe [16], Schendel et al. [22].

Through the various examination for hydrodynamic and morphology parameters, it can be concluded that the present model is a validated and calibrated model for scour under random waves. Thus, the present numerical model would be utilized for scour simulation around foundation under random waves.

4. Numerical Results and Discussions

4.1. Scour Evolution

Figure 8 displays the scour evolution for case 1–9. As shown in Figure 8a, the scour depth increased rapidly at the initial stage, and then slowed down at the transition stage, which attributes to the backfilling occurred in scour holes under live bed scour condition, resulting in the net scour decreasing. Finally, the scour reached the equilibrium state when the amount of sediment backfilling equaled to that of scouring in the scour holes, i.e., the net scour transport rate was nil. Sumer and Fredsøe [16] proposed the following formula for the scour development under waves

St=Seq(1−exp(−t/Tc))�t=�eq(1−exp(−�/�c))(30)

where Tc is time scale of scour process.

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Figure 8. Time evolution of scour for case 1–9: (a) Case 1–5; (b) Case 6–9.

The computing time is 3600 s and the scour development curves in Figure 8 kept fluctuating, meaning it’s still not in equilibrium scour stage in these cases. According to Sumer and Fredsøe [16], the equilibrium scour depth can be acquired by fitting the data with Equation (30). From Figure 8, it can be seen that the scour evolution obtained from Equation (30) is consistent with the present study basically at initial stage, but the scour depth predicted by Equation (30) developed slightly faster than the simulating results and the Equation (30) overestimated the scour depth to some extent. Overall, the whole tendency of the results calculated by Equation (30) agrees well with the simulating results of the present study, which means the Equation (30) is applicable to depict the scour evolution around USAF under random waves.

4.2. Scour Mechanism under Random Waves

The scour morphology and scour evolution around USAF are similar under random waves in case 1~9. Taking case 7 as an example, the scour morphology is shown in Figure 9.

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Figure 9. Scour morphology under different times for case 7.

From Figure 9, at the initial stage (t < 1200 s), the scour occurred at upstream foundation edges between neighboring anchor branches. The maximum scour depth appeared at the lee-side of the USAF. Correspondingly, the sediments deposited at the periphery of the USAF, and the location of the maximum accretion depth was positioned at an angle of about 45° symmetrically with respect to the wave propagating direction in the lee-side of the USAF. After that, when t > 2400 s, the location of the maximum scour depth shifted to the upside of the USAF at an angle of about 45° with respect to the wave propagating direction.

According to previous studies [1,15,16,19,30,31], the horseshoe vortex, streamline compression and wake vortex shedding were responsible for scour around foundation. The Figure 10 displays the distribution of flow velocity in vicinity of foundation, which reflects the evolving processes of horseshoe vertex.

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Figure 10. Velocity profile around USAF: (a) Flow runup and down stream at upstream anchor edges; (b) Horseshoe vortex at upstream anchor edges; (c) Flow reversal during wave through stage at lee side.

As shown in Figure 10, the inflow tripped to the upstream edges of the USAF and it was blocked by the upper tube of USAF. Then, the downflow formed the horizontal axis clockwise vortex and rolled on the seabed bypassing the tube, that is, the horseshoe vortex (Figure 11). The Figure 12 displays the turbulence intensity around the tube on the seabed. From Figure 12, it can be seen that the turbulence intensity was high-intensity with respect to the region of horseshoe vortex. This phenomenon occurred because of drastic water flow momentum exchanging in the horseshoe vortex. As a result, it created the prominent shear stress on the seabed, causing the local scour at the upstream edges of USAF. Besides, the horseshoe vortex moved downstream gradually along the periphery of the tube and the wake vortex shed off continually at the lee-side of the USAF, i.e., wake vortex.

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Figure 11. Sketch of scour mechanism around USAF under random waves.

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Figure 12. Turbulence intensity: (a) Turbulence intensity of horseshoe vortex; (b) Turbulence intensity of wake vortex; (c) Turbulence intensity of accretion area.

The core of wake vortex is a negative pressure center, liking a vacuum cleaner [11,42]. Hence, the soil particles were swirled into the negative pressure core and carried away by wake vortex. At the same time, the onset of scour at rear side occurred. Finally, the wake vortex became downflow at the downside of USAF. As is shown in Figure 12, the turbulence intensity was low where the downflow occurred at lee-side, which means the turbulence energy may not be able to support the survival of wake vortex, leading to accretion happening. As mentioned in previous section, the formation of horseshoe vortex was dependent with adverse pressure gradient at upside of foundation. As shown in Figure 13, the evaluated range of pressure distribution is −15 m to 15 m in x direction. The t = 450 s and t = 1800 s indicate that the wave crest and trough arrived at the upside and lee-side of the foundation respectively, and the t = 350 s was neither the wave crest nor trough. The adverse gradient pressure reached the maximum value at t = 450 s corresponding to the wave crest phase. In this case, it’s helpful for the wave boundary separating fully from seabed, which leads to the formation of horseshoe vortex with high turbulence intensity. Therefore, the horseshoe vortex is responsible for the local scour between neighboring anchor branches at upside of USAF. What’s more, due to the combination of the horseshoe vortex and streamline compression, the maximum scour depth occurred at the upside of the USAF with an angle of about 45° corresponding to the wave propagating direction. This is consistent with the findings of Pang et al. [48] and Sumer et al. [1,15] in case of regular waves. At the wave trough phase (t = 1800 s), the pressure gradient became positive at upstream USAF edges, which hindered the separating of wave boundary from seabed. In the meantime, the flow reversal occurred (Figure 10) and the adverse gradient pressure appeared at downstream USAF edges, but the magnitude of adverse gradient pressure at lee-side was lower than the upstream gradient pressure under wave crest. In this way, the intensity of horseshoe vortex behind the USAF under wave trough was low, which explains the difference of scour depth at upstream and downstream, i.e., the scour asymmetry. In other words, the scour asymmetry at upside and downside of USAF was attributed to wave asymmetry for random waves, and the phenomenon became more evident for nonlinear waves [21]. Briefly speaking, the vortex system at wave crest phase was mainly related to the scour process around USAF under random waves.

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Figure 13. Pressure distribution around USAF.

4.3. Equilibrium Scour Depth

The KC number is a key parameter for horseshoe vortex emerging and evolving under waves. According to Equation (1), when pile diameter D is fixed, the KC depends on the maximum near-bed velocity Uwm and wave period T. For random waves, the Uwm can be denoted by the root-mean-square (RMS) value of near-bed velocity amplitude Uwm,rms or the significant value of near-bed velocity amplitude Uwm,s. The Uwm,rms and Uwm,s for all simulating cases of the present study are listed in Table 3 and Table 4. The T can be denoted by the mean up zero-crossing wave period Ta, peak wave period Tp, significant wave period Ts, the maximum wave period Tm, 1/10′th highest wave period Tn = 1/10 and 1/5′th highest wave period Tn = 1/5 for random waves, so the different combinations of Uwm and T will acquire different KC. The Table 3 and Table 4 list 12 types of KC, for example, the KCrms,s was calculated by Uwm,rms and Ts. Sumer and Fredsøe [16] conducted a series of wave flume experiments to investigate the scour depth around monopile under random waves, and found the equilibrium scour depth predicting equation (Equation (2)) for regular waves was applicable for random waves with KCrms,p. It should be noted that the Equation (2) is only suitable for KC > 6 under regular waves or KCrms,p > 6 under random waves.

Table 3. Uwm,rms and KC for case 1~9.

Table

Table 4. Uwm,s and KC for case 1~9.

Table

Raaijmakers and Rudolph [34] proposed the equilibrium scour depth predicting model (Equation (5)) around pile under waves, which is suitable for low KC. The format of Equation (5) is similar with the formula proposed by Breusers [54], which can predict the equilibrium scour depth around pile at different scour stages. In order to verify the applicability of Raaijmakers’s model for predicting the equilibrium scour depth around USAF under random waves, a validation of the equilibrium scour depth Seq between the present study and Raaijmakers’s equation was conducted. The position where the scour depth Seq was evaluated is the location of the maximum scour depth, and it was depicted in Figure 14. The Figure 15 displays the comparison of Seq with different KC between the present study and Raaijmakers’s model.

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Figure 14. Sketch of the position where the Seq was evaluated.

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Figure 15. Comparison of the equilibrium scour depth between the present model and the model of Raaijmakers and Rudolph [34]: (aKCrms,sKCrms,a; (bKCrms,pKCrms,m; (cKCrms,n = 1/10KCrms,n = 1/5; (dKCs,sKCs,a; (eKCs,pKCs,m; (fKCs,n = 1/10KCs,n = 1/5.

As shown in Figure 15, there is an error in predicting Seq between the present study and Raaijmakers’s model, and Raaijmakers’s model underestimates the results generally. Although the error exists, the varying trend of Seq with KC obtained from Raaijmakers’s model is consistent with the present study basically. What’s more, the error is minimum and the Raaijmakers’s model is of relatively high accuracy for predicting scour around USAF under random waves by using KCs,p. Based on this, a further revision was made to eliminate the error as much as possible, i.e., add the deviation value ∆S/D in the Raaijmakers’s model. The revised equilibrium scour depth predicting equation based on Raaijmakers’s model can be written as

S′eq/D=1.95[tanh(hD)](1−exp(−0.012KCs,p))+ΔS/D�eq′/�=1.95tanh(ℎ�)(1−exp(−0.012��s,p))+∆�/�(31)

As the Figure 16 shown, through trial-calculation, when ∆S/D = 0.05, the results calculated by Equation (31) show good agreement with the simulating results of the present study. The maximum error is about 18.2% and the engineering requirements have been met basically. In order to further verify the accuracy of the revised model for large KC (KCs,p > 4) under random waves, a validation between the revised model and the previous experimental results [21]. The experiment was conducted in a flume (50 m in length, 1.0 m in width and 1.3 m in height) with a slender vertical pile (D = 0.1 m) under random waves. The seabed is composed of 0.13 m deep layer of sand with d50 = 0.6 mm and the water depth is 0.5 m for all tests. The significant wave height is 0.12~0.21 m and the KCs,p is 5.52~11.38. The comparison between the predicting results by Equation (31) and the experimental results of Corvaro et al. [21] is shown in Figure 17. From Figure 17, the experimental data evenly distributes around the predicted results and the prediction accuracy is favorable when KCs,p < 8. However, the gap between the predicting results and experimental data becomes large and the Equation (31) overestimates the equilibrium scour depth to some extent when KCs,p > 8.

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Figure 16. Comparison of Seq between the simulating results and the predicting values by Equation (31).

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Figure 17. Comparison of Seq/D between the Experimental results of Corvaro et al. [21] and the predicting values by Equation (31).

In ocean environment, the waves are composed of a train of sinusoidal waves with different frequencies and amplitudes. The energy of constituent waves with very large and very small frequencies is relatively low, and the energy of waves is mainly concentrated in a certain range of moderate frequencies. Myrhaug and Rue [37] thought the 1/n’th highest wave was responsible for scour and proposed the stochastic model to predict the equilibrium scour depth around pile under random waves for full range of KC. Noteworthy is that the KC was denoted by KCrms,a in the stochastic model. To verify the application of the stochastic model for predicting scour depth around USAF, a validation between the simulating results of present study and predicting results by the stochastic model with n = 2,3,5,10,20,500 was carried out respectively.

As shown in Figure 18, compared with the simulating results, the stochastic model underestimates the equilibrium scour depth around USAF generally. Although the error exists, the varying trend of Seq with KCrms,a obtained from the stochastic model is consistent with the present study basically. What’s more, the gap between the predicting values by stochastic model and the simulating results decreases with the increase of n, but for large n, for example n = 500, the varying trend diverges between the predicting values and simulating results, meaning it’s not feasible only by increasing n in stochastic model to predict the equilibrium scour depth around USAF.

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Figure 18. Comparison of Seq between the simulating results and the predicting values by Equation (8).

The Figure 19 lists the deviation value ∆Seq/D′ between the predicting values and simulating results with different KCrms,a and n. Then, fitted the relationship between the ∆S′and n under different KCrms,a, and the fitting curve can be written by Equation (32). The revised stochastic model (Equation (33)) can be acquired by adding ∆Seq/D′ to Equation (8).

ΔSeq/D=0.052*exp(−n/6.566)+0.068∆�eq/�=0.052*exp(−�/6.566)+0.068(32)

S′eq¯/D=S′eq/D+0.052*exp(−n/6.566)+0.068�eq′¯/�=�eq′/�+0.052*exp(−�/6.566)+0.068(33)

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Figure 19. The fitting line between ∆S′and n.

The comparison between the predicting results by Equation (33) and the simulating results of present study is shown in Figure 20. According to the Figure 20, the varying trend of Seq with KCrms,a obtained from the stochastic model is consistent with the present study basically. Compared with predicting results by the stochastic model, the results calculated by Equation (33) is favorable. Moreover, comparison with simulating results indicates that the predicting results are the most favorable for n = 10, which is consistent with the findings of Myrhaug and Rue [37] for equilibrium scour depth predicting around slender pile in case of random waves.

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Figure 20. Comparison of Seq between the simulating results and the predicting values by Equation (33).

In order to further verify the accuracy of the Equation (33) for large KC (KCrms,a > 4) under random waves, a validation was conducted between the Equation (33) and the previous experimental results of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Corvaro et al. [21]. The details of experiments conducted by Corvaro et al. [21] were described in above section. Sumer and Fredsøe [16] investigated the local scour around pile under random waves. The experiments were conducted in a wave basin with a slender vertical pile (D = 0.032, 0.055 m). The seabed is composed of 0.14 m deep layer of sand with d50 = 0.2 mm and the water depth was maintained at 0.5 m. The JONSWAP wave spectrum was used and the KCrms,a was 5.29~16.95. The comparison between the predicting results by Equation (33) and the experimental results of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Corvaro et al. [21] are shown in Figure 21. From Figure 21, contrary to the case of low KCrms,a (KCrms,a < 4), the error between the predicting values and experimental results increases with decreasing of n for KCrms,a > 4. Therefore, the predicting results are the most favorable for n = 2 when KCrms,a > 4.

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Figure 21. Comparison of Seq between the experimental results of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Corvaro et al. [21] and the predicting values by Equation (33).

Noteworthy is that the present model was built according to prototype size, so the errors between the numerical results and experimental data of References [16,21] may be attribute to the scale effects. In laboratory experiments on scouring process, it is typically impossible to ensure a rigorous similarity of all physical parameters between the model and prototype structure, leading to the scale effects in the laboratory experiments. To avoid a cohesive behaviour, the bed material was not scaled geometrically according to model scale. As a consequence, the relatively large-scaled sediments sizes may result in the overestimation of bed load transport and underestimation of suspended load transport compared with field conditions. What’s more, the disproportional scaled sediment presumably lead to the difference of bed roughness between the model and prototype, and thus large influences for wave boundary layer on the seabed and scour process. Besides, according to Corvaro et al. [21] and Schendel et al. [55], the pile Reynolds numbers and Froude numbers both affect the scour depth for the condition of non fully developed turbulent flow in laboratory experiments.

4.4. Parametric Study

4.4.1. Influence of Froude Number

As described above, the set of foundation leads to the adverse pressure gradient appearing at upstream, leading to the wave boundary layer separating from seabed, then horseshoe vortex formatting and the horseshoe vortex are mainly responsible for scour around foundation (see Figure 22). The Froude number Fr is the key parameter to influence the scale and intensity of horseshoe vortex. The Fr under waves can be calculated by the following formula [42]

Fr=UwgD−−−√�r=�w��(34)

where Uw is the mean water particle velocity during 1/4 cycle of wave oscillation, obtained from the following formula. Noteworthy is that the root-mean-square (RMS) value of near-bed velocity amplitude Uwm,rms is used for calculating Uwm.

Uw=1T/4∫0T/4Uwmsin(t/T)dt=2πUwm�w=1�/4∫0�/4�wmsin(�/�)��=2��wm(35)

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Figure 22. Sketch of flow field at upstream USAF edges.

Tavouktsoglou et al. [25] proposed the following formula between Fr and the vertical location of the stagnation y

yh∝Fer�ℎ∝�r�(36)

where e is constant.

The Figure 23 displays the relationship between Seq/D and Fr of the present study. In order to compare with the simulating results, the experimental data of Corvaro et al. [21] was also depicted in Figure 23. As shown in Figure 23, the equilibrium scour depth appears a logarithmic increase as Fr increases and approaches the mathematical asymptotic value, which is also consistent with the experimental results of Corvaro et al. [21]. According to Figure 24, the adverse pressure gradient pressure at upstream USAF edges increases with the increase of Fr, which is benefit for the wave boundary layer separating from seabed, resulting in the high-intensity horseshoe vortex, hence, causing intensive scour around USAF. Based on the previous study of Tavouktsoglou et al. [25] for scour around pile under currents, the high Fr leads to the stagnation point is closer to the mean sea level for shallow water, causing the stronger downflow kinetic energy. As mentioned in previous section, the energy of downflow at upstream makes up the energy of the subsequent horseshoe vortex, so the stronger downflow kinetic energy results in the more intensive horseshoe vortex. Therefore, the higher Fr leads to the more intensive horseshoe vortex by influencing the position of stagnation point y presumably. Qi and Gao [19] carried out a series of flume tests to investigate the scour around pile under regular waves, and proposed the fitting formula between Seq/D and Fr as following

lg(Seq/D)=Aexp(B/Fr)+Clg(�eq/�)=�exp(�/�r)+�(37)

where AB and C are constant.

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Figure 23. The fitting curve between Seq/D and Fr.

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Figure 24. Sketch of adverse pressure gradient at upstream USAF edges.

Took the Equation (37) to fit the simulating results with A = −0.002, B = 0.686 and C = −0.808, and the results are shown in Figure 23. From Figure 23, the simulating results evenly distribute around the Equation (37) and the varying trend of Seq/D and Fr in present study is consistent with Equation (37) basically, meaning the Equation (37) is applicable to express the relationship of Seq/D with Fr around USAF under random waves.

4.4.2. Influence of Euler Number

The Euler number Eu is the influencing factor for the hydrodynamic field around foundation. The Eu under waves can be calculated by the following formula. The Eu can be represented by the Equation (38) for uniform cylinders [25]. The root-mean-square (RMS) value of near-bed velocity amplitude Um,rms is used for calculating Um.

Eu=U2mgD�u=�m2��(38)

where Um is depth-averaged flow velocity.

The Figure 25 displays the relationship between Seq/D and Eu of the present study. In order to compare with the simulating results, the experimental data of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Corvaro et al. [21] were also plotted in Figure 25. As shown in Figure 25, similar with the varying trend of Seq/D and Fr, the equilibrium scour depth appears a logarithmic increase as Eu increases and approaches the mathematical asymptotic value, which is also consistent with the experimental results of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Corvaro et al. [21]. According to Figure 24, the adverse pressure gradient pressure at upstream USAF edges increases with the increasing of Eu, which is benefit for the wave boundary layer separating from seabed, inducing the high-intensity horseshoe vortex, hence, causing intensive scour around USAF.

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Figure 25. The fitting curve between Seq/D and Eu.

Therefore, the variation of Fr and Eu reflect the magnitude of adverse pressure gradient pressure at upstream. Given that, the Equation (37) also was used to fit the simulating results with A = 8.875, B = 0.078 and C = −9.601, and the results are shown in Figure 25. From Figure 25, the simulating results evenly distribute around the Equation (37) and the varying trend of Seq/D and Eu in present study is consistent with Equation (37) basically, meaning the Equation (37) is also applicable to express the relationship of Seq/D with Eu around USAF under random waves. Additionally, according to the above description of Fr, it can be inferred that the higher Fr and Eu both lead to the more intensive horseshoe vortex by influencing the position of stagnation point y presumably.

5. Conclusions

A series of numerical models were established to investigate the local scour around umbrella suction anchor foundation (USAF) under random waves. The numerical model was validated for hydrodynamic and morphology parameters by comparing with the experimental data of Khosronejad et al. [52], Petersen et al. [17], Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Schendel et al. [22]. Based on the simulating results, the scour evolution and scour mechanisms around USAF under random waves were analyzed respectively. Two revised models were proposed according to the model of Raaijmakers and Rudolph [34] and the stochastic model developed by Myrhaug and Rue [37] to predict the equilibrium scour depth around USAF under random waves. Finally, a parametric study was carried out with the present model to study the effects of the Froude number Fr and Euler number Eu to the equilibrium scour depth around USAF under random waves. The main conclusions can be described as follows.(1)

The packed sediment scour model and the RNG k−ε turbulence model were used to simulate the sand particles transport processes and the flow field around UASF respectively. The scour evolution obtained by the present model agrees well with the experimental results of Khosronejad et al. [52], Petersen et al. [17], Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Schendel et al. [22], which indicates that the present model is accurate and reasonable for depicting the scour morphology around UASF under random waves.(2)

The vortex system at wave crest phase is mainly related to the scour process around USAF under random waves. The maximum scour depth appeared at the lee-side of the USAF at the initial stage (t < 1200 s). Subsequently, when t > 2400 s, the location of the maximum scour depth shifted to the upside of the USAF at an angle of about 45° with respect to the wave propagating direction.(3)

The error is negligible and the Raaijmakers’s model is of relatively high accuracy for predicting scour around USAF under random waves when KC is calculated by KCs,p. Given that, a further revision model (Equation (31)) was proposed according to Raaijmakers’s model to predict the equilibrium scour depth around USAF under random waves and it shows good agreement with the simulating results of the present study when KCs,p < 8.(4)

Another further revision model (Equation (33)) was proposed according to the stochastic model established by Myrhaug and Rue [37] to predict the equilibrium scour depth around USAF under random waves, and the predicting results are the most favorable for n = 10 when KCrms,a < 4. However, contrary to the case of low KCrms,a, the predicting results are the most favorable for n = 2 when KCrms,a > 4 by the comparison with experimental results of Sumer and Fredsøe [16] and Corvaro et al. [21].(5)

The same formula (Equation (37)) is applicable to express the relationship of Seq/D with Eu or Fr, and it can be inferred that the higher Fr and Eu both lead to the more intensive horseshoe vortex and larger Seq.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, H.L. (Hongjun Liu); Data curation, R.H. and P.Y.; Formal analysis, X.W. and H.L. (Hao Leng); Funding acquisition, X.W.; Writing—original draft, R.H. and P.Y.; Writing—review & editing, X.W. and H.L. (Hao Leng); The final manuscript has been approved by all the authors. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.

Funding

This research was funded by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (grant number 202061027) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 41572247).

Institutional Review Board Statement

Not applicable.

Informed Consent Statement

Not applicable.

Data Availability Statement

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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