Additively manufactured lattice structure surface morphology evaluation

Researchers from McGill University in Canada have published a study on the detailed surface topography of single lattice struts manufactured by additive manufacturing. In the study entitled "Analysis of the effect of surface morphology on tensile behavior of LPBF SS316L microstruts" published in Materials Science and Engineering: A, high-resolution microCT data was used to evaluate the morphology of single struts at high resolution using a Zeiss Versa X-ray microscope. Dragonfly software was used for segmentation, 3D visualization, and measurements. An in-depth study of the reconstruction facilitated the development of a synthetic surface roughness representation that was imported into FEA software to obtain quantitative insights on the effect of this roughness on tensile performance.

According to the corresponding author Prof Brochu, “Dragonfly is very powerful for 3D data analysis and has allowed us to visualize details of the lattice strut surfaces to quantify various constitutive surface features, such as surface protrusion length, angles, and radius of curvatures to name a few. Statistical quantification of the periodicity of these defects yielded a quantitative correlation of the overall surface imperfection level with the mechanical properties, in particular the reduction in tensile elongation."


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Abhi Ghosh, Amit Kumar, Xianglong Wang, Anne-Marie Kietzig, Mathieu Brochu, Analysis of the effect of surface morphology on tensile behavior of LPBF SS316L microstruts. Materials Science and Engineering: A, Volume 831, 13 January 2022, 142226 (

Associated Research Labs and Centers

Department of Mining and Materials Engineering, McGill University

Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University

Keywords: Additive Manufacturing, Surface Roughness, Lattice Structure, Strut, Surface Morphology


A single additively manufactured strut with clip-box revealing a local wall thickness analysis.

The local wall thickness with longitudinal clipping shows surface morphology used in further finite element modelling in the paper.

By sequentially removing regions of low wall thickness, i.e. the surface-attached particles (<25 μm in middle image and <100 μm to the right) in the 3D image data, a “virtual etching” is demonstrated leaving only the thicker parts.