Investigation of the fluid flow during the recoating process in additive manufacturing

Andrei Kozhevnikov (Corresponding author), Rudie Kunnen, Gregor E. van Baars, Herman Clercx

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper aims to explore the fluid flow in the stereolithography process during the recoating step. The understanding of the flow dynamics can be used as an input for an active control of the resin surface height map. The recoating over a rectangular cavity has been considered to investigate the influence of the cavity depth on the resin surface height map.

Two-dimensional numerical simulations have been used to obtain the flow characteristics as function of the cavity depth. An experimental setup, which mimics the recoating process in the stereolithography process, was used to verify the results of simulations and to test the suitability of the 2D model. The surface height profile along the centreline was measured by a confocal chromatic distance sensor and compared to the 2D numerical results.

By means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation, the flow in the cavity and the free-surface behaviour of the resin was explained for different cavity depths and confirmed by experiments.

Research limitations/implications
The study is focused only on the cavity depth variation to show feasibility and suitability of the presented CFD model and the proposed analytical expression to estimate the layer thickness.

Practical implications
The proposed approach can serve as a tool for designing the closed-loop control for the recoating system in the next generation of stereolithography equipment.

In the present work, the fluid flow behaviour, a source of significant imperfection in the recoating process, has been investigated during the recoating step over a rectangular cavity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-613
Number of pages9
JournalRapid Prototyping Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2020


  • Coating processes
  • Control systems
  • Numerical simulation
  • Stereolithography


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