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Computer modelling of wire-based Additive Manufacturing Processes in metallic materials

   Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

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  Dr Sagar Nikam, Dr Shaun McFadden  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

A group at Ulster University are strongly engaged in developing computer models of metal additive manufacturing processes [1]. These models have been applied to industrial settings and are useful in solving practical problems such as the avoidance of defect formation in Powder Bed Fusion processes [2]. A new area for development within this group is in Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) processes for metal alloys. The group has on-site access to robotic layer deposition technology (metal inert gas and cold metal transfer) [3], on-site metallurgical facilities, and in-situ monitoring equipment using state-of-the-art High Dynamic Range (HDR) thermal imaging, melt pool monitoring cameras [4]. 

The in-situ monitoring aims to use automatic and machine-based learning techniques in combination with traditional metallurgical and thermocouple technology. This activity will provide datasets that will be used to validate the bespoke computer models of the process. The dynamic heat source model will be developed using bespoke libraries already created using ANSYS Parametric Design Language (APDL) code [5]. The outcome of this project will be an advanced simulation model suitable for the additive manufacturing industry; capable of predicting thermal response and melt pool geometry with high accuracy. This model will find further applications such as predicting residual stress distribution and defect avoidance. 

This project would suit prospective candidates who are enthusiastic about metal additive manufacturing and who have an interest in combining experimental and numerical methodologies for solving industrial problems. The successful candidate will gain significant knowledge and skills in understanding the melt pool dynamics of metal additive manufacturing process and developing simulation model for an additive manufacturing process. 


1. S.H. Nikam, J. Quinn, S. McFadden, “A simplified thermal
approximation method to include the effects of Marangoni
convection in the melt pools of processes that involve moving
point heat sources”, Numer. Heat Transf.; A: Appl., vol. 79, no. 7,
pp. 537-552, 2021, doi: 10.1080/10407782.2021.1872257
2. S.H. Nikam, H. Wu, R. Harkin, J. Quinn, R. Lupoi, S. Yin. S.
McFadden, “On the application of the anisotropic enhanced
thermal conductivity approach to thermal modelling of laserbased powder bed fusion processes”, Addit. Manuf., vol. 55, pp.
102840, 2022, doi: 10.1016/j.addma.2022.102870
3. H. Stinson, R. Ward, J. Quinn, C. McGarrigle, “Comparison of
Properties and Bead Geometry in MIG and CMT Single Layer
Samples for WAAM Applications”, vol. 11, no. 10, pp. 1530,
2021, doi: 10.3390/met11101530
4. Xiris XVC-1000e Welding Monitoring Camera, [Online].
5. S.H. Nikam, N.K. Jain, “Three-dimensional thermal analysis of
multi-layer metallic deposition by micro-plasma transferred arc
process using finite element simulation”, J. Mater. Process.
Technol., vol. 249, pp. 264-273, 2017, doi:
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