Investigations of the absorption front in high-speed laser processing up to 600 m/min

High processing speeds enormously enlarge the number of possible fields of application for laser processes. For example, material removal for sheet cutting using multiple passes or precise mass corrections can be achieved by means of spatter formation. For a better understanding of spatter formation at processing speeds of several hundred meters per minute, characterizations of the processing zone are required. For this purpose, a 400 W single-mode fiber laser was used in this study to process stainless steel AISI 304 (1.4301/X5CrNi18-10) with speeds of up to 600 m/min. A setup was developed that enabled a lateral high-speed observation of the processing zone by means of a glass plate flanking. This approach allowed for the measurement of several dimensions, such as the penetration depth, spatter formation, and especially, the inclination angle of the absorption front. It was shown that the loss of mass started to significantly increase when the absorption front was inclined at about 60°. In combination with precise weighings, metallographic examinations, and further external process observations, these findings provided an illustration of four empirical process models for different processing speeds.


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