Laser welding is a widely used joining technique used to join materials together by using a laser as a heat source. The laser is focussed onto the substrate material creating a concentrated heat source in order to melt and fuse material together.
How does it work?
Lasers with power densities in the order of 103-106 W/mm2 produce a keyholing action. A 'keyhole' is produced when laser welding metal, a column of ionised metal vapour forms below the beam impingement point, absorbing the incoming laser energy. This can be used to make narrow, deep welds and cuts with very little heat input or alternatively, it can be used for very fast processing of thin sheets. This 'keyhole' welding process is more efficient than a process where the weld shape is governed by thermal conduction.
Laser Welding has a number of advantages over conventional welding, including:
Deep narrow welds
Low heat input
High joint completion rates
Joint design flexibility
Minimal use of consumables
Ease of automation
Aesthetically pleasing welds
Laser welding is a versatile process and can be used to weld a variety of materials including, carbon steel, stainless steel, titanium, aluminium, nickel alloys and plastics. Lasers are often used in high volume production applications as they have high welding speeds and the level of automation that allows 24 hours a day operation.
Sample handling requirements:
Materials to be joined, appropriate substrate bonding material.
Conventional Gas Torch Welding, Resistance Spot Welding, Self Pierce Riveting
Dr Ian Hancox, 024 76 150 577 email i dot hancox at warwick dot ac dot uk