A simulation model for crater formation in laser milling
T Dobrev, D T Pham and S S Dimov
Manufacturing Engineering Centre, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF24 3AA
In pulsed laser material removal systems, it is very important to understand the physical phenomena that take place during the laser ablation process. A two-dimensional theoretical model is developed to investigate the crater formation on a metal target by a microsecond laser pulse. The model takes into account the absorption of the laser light, and heating and vaporisation of the target, including an adjustment to compensate for the change of state. A simple numerical technique is employed to describe the major physical processes taking part in the laser milling process. The temperature distribution in the target material during the pulse duration is analysed. The effect of the laser fluence on the resulting crater is investigated in detail. The proposed simulation model was validated experimentally for laser material interactions between a microsecond Nd:YAG laser (λ= 1064 nm) and a stainless steel workpiece. The measured crater depths are in agreement with the model. Such a study is very important for understanding the mechanisms of micro-structuring when laser milling is employed. The results of this research will be used in improving the micro-machining capabilities of the process.
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