Laser technology is considered very attractive in industry due to its high efficiency and high processing speed. It therefore has great potential in materials processing and manufacturing for micro-application purposes. However, the majority of the work is carried out empirically with little understanding of the fundamental principles involved. Understanding the relationship between laser beam characteristics and the physical conditions of the materials to be processed would enable a valuable numerical tool for process parameter definition for the conduction limited welding process to be developed, thus reducing the reliance upon empirical trials and personal experience in developing a process.
Investigate the interaction between laser/matter and quality of the processed components as function of different laser processing conditions.
Evaluate the integrity of the produced samples and establish performance through appropriate testing procedures.
Develop a tool or procedure for assisting in equipment and process selection for micro laser processing applications.
The proposed project will focus on analysis of laser/matter behaviour under a range of laser processing conditions, including different energy densities and pulse widths in the case of pulsed lasers. Laser types will include fibre, Nd:YAG and diode lasers. The study will deal with some fundamental issues involved in laser-matter interaction and a range of pulsed and CW laser sources will be used to characterise welding, cutting, drilling, powder bed deposition (or sintering) and ablation processes. Work has been already carried out in the fields mentioned above, achieving successful and interesting outcomes. However a more thorough understanding of dominant process mechanisms at a molecular dynamics level is needed for better process control. Materials to be investigated will include high reflectance metals, composites and ceramics for micro-applications; they will be used in different forms, such as foil, wire, powder and flat plate.
Relevant Industry Sectors
Electronics, Sensors and Medical Devices and Aerospace.
Technical and Economic Benefits
The project will develop TWI’s core knowledge in the field of precision laser processing.
The project will support EngD study investigating laser/matter interaction mechanisms for industrial micro-applications.
Fundamental knowledge concerning laser/matter interaction using low power laser sources will be improved in order to meet the requirements of increased productivity, reduced costs and improved reliability for the benefit of TWI members.
TWI members will be able to make equipment selection decisions based on the fundamental requirements of the laser processing application.