TWI Industrial Member Report Summary 858/2006
By C Ribton
High power electron beam (EB) welding equipment has seen significant development and optimisation for welding of a range of metallic materials in the range of a few hundred microns up to hundreds of millimetres in thickness. In contrast, there has been relatively little development of equipment capable of generating very high intensity electron beams for fine material processing applications including drilling, cutting, surface texturing, micro-welding and micro-machining. The use of electron beams for processes such as these, together with the high-speed beam deflection that is possible using programmable deflection coils, may be expected to open up application areas in high speed processing of materials for use in the aerospace, automotive, medical and semi-conductor processing industry sectors.
Development of EB equipment with suitable characteristics for fine processing requires a detailed understanding of the electron beam - material interaction and, in particular, the influence of beam intensity and beam power on the volume of material into which the power is deposited. Such an understanding is essential to aid choice of processing parameters to produce a desired effect in a particular material and to direct further refinement of gun column optics to optimise processing capability and performance.
Work has been undertaken to develop such an understanding, to apply the knowledge to the characterisation of high intensity EB equipment developed at TWI and to validate it by selected processing trials on a range of industrially relevant materials.
The objectives of the reported work are:
- To further develop gun column optics design tools to enable increased beam intensity.
- To characterise equipment capabilities in fine scale processing of a range of relevant materials.