TWI Industrial Member Report Summary 517/1995
I A Jones and S T Riches, TWI
J W Yoon and E R Wallach, University of Cambridge
There is considerable interest in applying laser welding to aluminium alloys, especially for sheet metal processing industries, where significant advantages may be gained in terms of low general heat input, low distortion, high welding speeds, the potential for automation and the inherent flexibility of the laser system. These advantages are already being exploited in the industrial manufacture of steel components and, with the additional driving force of weight reduction, laser welding of aluminium alloys has become a pertinent subject to a range of industrial sectors, including automotive, aerospace, off-road transportation, shipbuilding, construction and domestic appliance.
This report reviews the current status of application of laser technology in aluminium alloys and describes a programme of work to investigate CO2 and Nd:YAG laser welding of 2mm and 6mm thick aluminium alloys, representative of a range of industrial interest, in order to determine mechanical properties and assess susceptibility to porosity and cracking.
- To demonstrate the application of CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers to welding of aluminium alloys in 2mm and 6mm thickness.
- To determine the static tensile properties of CO2 and Nd:YAG laser welded butt joints in 2mm and 6mm thick aluminium alloys.
- To define the level of defects (such as cracking and porosity) in laser welded aluminium alloys.
- To produce guidelines for use of lasers for welding of aluminium alloys with regard to process procedures.