Effect of local gas flow in full penetration laser beam welding with high welding speeds

Spatter formation is a major issue in deep penetration welding with solid-state lasers at high welding speeds above 8 m/min. In order to limit spatter formation, the use of local gas flows represents a technically feasible solution. By using the gas flow, the pressure balance inside the keyhole, and therefore the keyhole stability, is affected. Existing investigations demonstrate a reduction in spatter and pore formation for partial penetration welding up to a welding speed of 5 m/min. However, the effect of the gas flow is not yet clarified for full penetration welding at welding speeds above 8 m/min. By using a precisely adjustable shielding gas supply, the effect of a local gas flow of argon was characterized by welding stainless steel AISI304 (1.4301/X5CrNi18-10). The influence of the gas flow on the melt pool dynamics and spatter formation was recorded by means of high-speed videography and subsequently analyzed by image processing. Schlieren videography was used to visualize the forming flow flied. By the use of the gas, a change in melt pool dynamics and gas flow conditions was observed, correlating to a reduction in loss of mass up to 70%. Based on the investigations, a model of the acting effect mechanism was given.


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