Abstract: Laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) success in the industrial scenario strongly depends on the ability to manufacture components without defects and with high building rates, but also on the ability to effectively control the microstructure to gain the required properties in the final component. In this regard, the recently developed numerical simulation software of L-PBF technologies can represent an effective tool, since many of them provide solidification data (i.e. temperature gradient and cooling rate) useful for microstructure prediction. In this work, a numerical model was applied to simulate the processing of four single scan tracks of 316L stainless steel processed with different parameters. Temperature and cooling rate around the melt pool were extracted from the numerical model and used to estimate the microstructure cellular arm spacing and the microhardness. Experimental measurements were then compared with the estimated values revealing good agreement. The good agreement between experimental and estimated values shows the advantages of the proposed method for microstructure and microhardness prediction based on numerical modelling as a useful resource for process optimization according to the required final microstructural features. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
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