The quality of built parts by selective laser melting (SLM) relies on the comprehension of the phenomena that takes place during the melting and solidification of the metal powder. The scattering of spatter particle as liquid metal during SLM process affects the layer consolidation of powder bed in addition to the surface quality of built part.

The present study is focused on the spatter particle behaviour of maraging steel during SLM to achieve a thorough understanding of the phenomena that occur during the melting and fusing of the metal powder. The spatter particles are tracked using high speed imaging, and the effects of the process parameters on the spatter particle behaviour are investigated. The spatter particles ejected from the melt pool are also physically and chemically evaluated.

The results showed that the spatter particles were classified as being spherical or satellite types, according to their scattered volumes; some spatter particles were larger than the particles in the initial metal powder. Most spatter particles were ejected from the droplet formed around the melt pool and from the melted powder in front of the melt pool; the number of spatter particles ejected from the melt pool was relatively low. The surface roughness affected the generation locations and tracks of the spatter particles, and the substrate surface wettability was the principal factor affecting the spatter particle behaviour.

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