The process of selective laser sintering (SLS) involves selective heating and fusion of powdered material using a moving laser beam. Because of its complicated manufacturing process, physical modeling of the transformation from powder to final product in the SLS process is currently a challenge. Existing simulations of transient temperatures during this process are performed either using finite-element (FE) or discrete-element (DE) methods which are either inaccurate in representing the heat-affected zone (HAZ) or computationally expensive to be practical in large-scale industrial applications. In this work, a new computational model for physical modeling of the transient temperature of the powder bed during the SLS process is developed that combines the FE and the DE methods and accounts for the dynamic changes of particle contact areas in the HAZ. The results show significant improvements in computational efficiency over traditional DE simulations while maintaining the same level of accuracy.

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