In laser cladding with pre-placed powd er, a trial-and-error approach is widely adopted to acquire the suitable processing parameters. The shortcomings of such an approach are obvious: long investigation times, high costs, and more importantly, the difficulty of making predictions. In this study, a numerical approach based on the finite element method has been developed to simulate the temperature profile of laser cladding with pre-placed metal powders. The FEM model is capable of simulating the 3-D thermal field of the cladding material under a moving heat source. Verification experiments were conducted by the laser cladding of Al-12%Si alloy on ZM51 magnesium alloy, using a high-power Nd-YAG laser. The results show that the model can be employed to determine the appropriate processing parameters for achieving good interfacial bonding between the clad layer and the substrate.

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