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LASER BEAM WELDING

Speaker
Shashank Joshi
LASER BEAM WELDING
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of
Radiation
A form of Radiant energy
A focussed laser beam is one of the highest
power density sources
UNIQUE in a sense that, heat being generated
only where the focussed beam strikes the object
Unlike arc or flame sources, therefore, the work
is not brought into contact with any heated
media, gas or metal vapour
Application of Lasers

 Material Processing  Medical


 Welding, Brazing  Measurement of
 Cutting, Drilling
Length
 Surface Heat
 Holography
Treatment
 Surface melting  Alignment
 Surface Cladding  Velocity Measurement
 Stereo Lithography  Recording
 Non contact Bending
 Printing
 Surface Texturing
 Isotope Separation
How the Laser works

The collection of atoms or molecules are


excited by pumping with light or electrical
or chemical energy

Partial
Total Reflector
Reflector Active medium
How the Laser works
Pumping atoms raise the
energy level of the atoms from PUMP ENERGY
NON- RADIATIVE
ground state to the upper state. TRANSFER
U3
Increasing population in the
upper state beyond their U22
E
thermal equilibrium N
STIMULATED
EMISSION
E
(population inversion) This R
G
process is absorption. Y

To conserve energy, they drop U1

down to lower energy states


emitting photons by POPULATION

spontaneous emission. This is


stimulated emission.
How the Laser works
Some of the emitted photons, may start traveling
down the optic axis of the cavity and will start
oscillating between the mirrors.
During this time, they may strike an atom in
already excited state to generate more photons by
stimulated emission.
The atoms in the upper state vibrate so as to
generate light or photon of identical wavelength,
traveling in exactly same direction and with the
same phase, that is in phase to the input beam,
adding to its intensity. Thus amplifying the beam.
Lasers used in Material Processing

Laser action has been demonstrated in many different


materials, including Scotch whisky, gasoline etc.
Active media can be solid , liquid or gas.
Populations inversions are created with electrical, optical,
or chemical energy input
Wavelengths emitted range from ultraviolet to infrared.
However, only a few kinds of lasers with sufficient power
for material processing and commercially more important
are CO2 Gas and Nd-YAG
25-30% share in total Laser Applications; 10-20% growth
expected
Characteristics of Nd-YAG Lasers
A Yttrium Aluminum Garnet crystal doped with
Neodymium (a rare earth element)
Xenon or Krypton pump lamps; Diode costly
λ-1.06 μm; lower overall η ~1%;
Power density up to 109 W/mm2 possible
Can be operated in Continuous Wave (CW) or Pulsed
mode
High power lasers have multimode outputs with high
divergence; limits optical performance
However, it is most suitable for fiber optic beam
delivery system due to shorter λ.
Characteristics of CO2 Lasers
Uses a mixture of gases-78% He for good
conduction and stabilization of plasma, 12% N2
for coupling, and 10% CO2 for work.
Gas mixture at 5 kPa allows electric discharge
(HVDC ~ 10-30 kV) allows excited N2 to
transfer energy by collisions.
λ- 10.6 μm; an infrared radiation; uses reflectors
of Gallium or Germanium Arsenide or ZnSe.
Characteristics of CO2 Lasers
Outputs from few hundred watts to over 20 kW.
Versatile, efficient (~10-12% η), and
inexpensive per watt.
Requires cooling system.
Can be operated in CW or Pulsed mode.
Good modes and large beam diameters
Can be focussed to spot size of 0.2 mm.
2-5 kW outputs usually have a multimode
Harnessing Laser Beam for Welding

Laser output beam dia. increases with power rating of


the laser,
e. g. 1, 5, 10 and 25 kW lasers have beam dia. in the
order of 10, 25, 40 and 70 mm respectively.
The average power density across these dia. is in the
order of 6 to 15 W/mm2.
The actual concentration of power being distributed
according to beam mode.
Harnessing Laser Beam for Welding

For keyhole welding ~103-105W/mm2 is required,


hence it is necessary to focus the beam to a very small
spot of only a fraction of a millimeter in diameter.
Needs transmissive (lenses) and reflective (shaped
mirrors) optics to focus.
A system/work station may comprise of a laser, a beam
delivery system, positioning tables, CNC, process
monitoring and so on.
Process Monitoring
Mechanism
High irradiance of the focussed
beam heats the metal beyond its
melting point.
Liquid is a better absorber, forms
vapor The vaporized metal opens a
cylinder ( a keyhole) down through
the work, holding back the
surrounding liquid with vapor
pressure.
This vapor ionizes and absorbs the
incoming radiation, becoming
incandescent and radiating energy
to the molten metal along the side
of the keyhole.
Mechanism
The material at the edge of the hole absorbs energy.
Improved energy transfer, deep penetration achieved.
Relative motion produces a seam.
As the keyhole moves, liquid metal flows from its forward
surface to its back, where it solidifies.
Higher reflections cause conduction welding
Plasma control
The development of vapor cloud over the surface in the
initial phase is an advantage.
But generation of excessive plasma over weld pool can
create a barrier to the beam
Materials weldable by LBW
Very rapid melting and rapid solidification rates.
Low heat input. Heat dissipation to adjacent area is low.
Fusion zone is very small; HAZ is very small; Reduced
shrinkage stresses; Very low distortion
Constrains grain growth, Small time for sensitization in
austenitic S.S.,
Autogeneous welding; Very difficult to add filler metal.
High keyhole temperatures tend to vaporize volatile
constituents.
Reflective metals like Al is difficult to weld.
Cu, Ti, Ni based alloys, Steels,
LBW Parameters
A. Laser-Related Parameters
1. Power
2. Mode
B. Process- Related Variables
1. Shield Gas
2. Travel Speed
C. Weld Parameters
1. Penetration (2 mm/kW)
2. Width (narrow)
Effect of Power on Speed and
Penetration
Joints for LBW
A focussed beam diameter can be ~0.5-0.8 mm, even 0.2 mm.
Demands very good joint fit-up. Gap< 1 mm.
Alignment-minimum part variations required.
Filler wire of Φ 0.8 mm requires min. 2 mm. wide melt pool;
demands 10 kW laser power.
Butt joints; misalignment < 0.1 mm
T- joints- more gap tolerance, distortion problems.
Lap joints- eliminates alignment problems and minimize fit-
up problems.
 Construction of proper fixturing to held work is the most
difficult and important.
Examples of LBW Joints
Choosing Laser Beam Welding
LBW is not a magic!
LBW is a high-speed precision welding
process; well suited to automation.
As on today, converting input energy to
laser has very lower η; a 100kW CO2 use
about a MW power.
However transfer η of laser energy to work
very high.
Comparison with other welding
processes
Capital cost in Approx. Joining η
Process relative units mm2/kJ
(MMA=1)
MMA 1 2-3
SAW 10 0.8-2
TIG 2 4-10
MIG 2 -
GAS 0.2 0.2-0.5
RESIS. BUTT 0.5-10 45-100
EB 10-450 20-30
LASER 100+ 15-25
Comparison with other welding
processes
LBW-Industrial Applications

Razor Blades
Spot welding a platinum hardened, S.S.
blade to a formed –steel support bar.
Uses Nd-YAG lasers
Each laser makes 13 spot welds on each of
the 2 blades affixed to cartridge at the rate
of 60 cartridge/min.
Totalling 1560 spots/min.-100 000 per hr.
LBW-Industrial Applications

Joining of diamond or carbide impregnated


steel tips to rotary machine tool saw blades
Solenoid operated hydraulic valves
Requires butt weld, with good alignment
and low distortion of non-magnetic S.S. and
m. s.
Uses CO2 lasers; cycle time 8 to 16 sec per
assembly
LBW-Industrial Applications

Heart Peacemakers
Requires a high quality hermetically sealed
weld; the weld has to take place within 1
mm of the circuit which should not be
subjected to temperatures above 50 deg. C
Uses pulsed Nd-YAG
Seam welded stainless tubes
S.S. heat exchangers
LBW-Industrial Applications
Passenger Car Body parts
I. Car floor pan
Demand was to make a single piece from a
large galvanized sheet 1960x3200x0.5mm;
LBW preferred over TIG, FOIL BUTT SEAM
due to capability of retaining ductility, weld
flush to prevent tool damage and producing
very narrow weld with min. HAZ and preserve
cathodic fusion of Zinc.
II. Welding transmission components
LBW-Industrial Applications

III. Frame
LBW-Industrial Applications

Electron guns for T. V. tubes


Tappet Housing
Food mixer whisks
References (Authors)

1. Leonard Migliore
2. William M. Steen
3. Peter Houldcroft
4. H. B. Cary
***********

Thank You