Powder-bed electron beam additive manufacturing (EBAM) is a relatively new technology to produce metallic parts in a layer by layer fashion by melting and fusing metallic powders. EBAM is a rapid solidification process and the properties of the parts depend on the solidification behavior as well as the microstructure of the build material. Thus, the prediction of part microstructures during the process may be an important factor for process optimization. Nowadays, the increase in computational power allows for direct simulations of microstructures during materials processing for specific manufacturing conditions. Among different methods, phase-field modeling (PFM) has recently emerged as a powerful computational technique for simulating microstructure evolutions at the mesoscale during a rapid solidification process. PFM describes microstructures using a set of conserved and non-conserved field variables and the evolution of the field variables are governed by Cahn-Hilliard and Allen-Cahn equations. By using the thermodynamics and kinetic parameters as input parameters in the model, PFM is able to simulate the evolution of complex microstructures during materials processing. The objective of this study is to achieve a thorough review of PFM techniques used in various processes, attempted for an application to microstructure evolutions during EBAM. The concept of diffuse interfaces, phase field variables, thermodynamic driving forces for microstructure evolutions and the kinetic phase-field equations are described in this paper.

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