, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 885–889 | Cite as

Sintering in Laser Sintering

  • David L. Bourell


Laser sintering is a popular additive manufacturing technology, particularly for service parts. Invented by C. Deckard in the mid-1980s, the approach of using a laser to densify a powder bed selectively has been extensively researched and has been applied to metals, ceramics, polymers and composites. In the traditional powder-metallurgical sense, sintering involves solid-state atomic transport resulting in neck formation and eventual densification in a powder mass. The use of the term “sintering” as a descriptive term for the powder-bed additive manufacturing process has been problematical to the technical community, because the predominant densification mechanism has been shown for most applications to be melting and reflow. The term has perpetuated as a name for the additive manufacturing process, at least for polymers. The technical term “sintering” is accurately associated with laser sintering insofar as powder pre-processing and part post-processing are concerned. It may also be used to describe formation of “part cake”. This paper describes the circumstances surrounding the coining of the term, “laser sintering” and provides some examples of how sintering is used in pre- and post-processing.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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