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20 February 2014 Laser beam drilling of metal-based composites
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Laser drilling is a highly efficient technique to generate holes in almost any material. The relatively small amount of heat being involved during the process results in a small heat affected zone. This characteristic makes laser processing interesting for composite materials. The drilling process has to be adapted to the special characteristics of the composite material. In this paper investigations were performed with an advanced composite material, that is a metallic hollow sphere structure (MHSS). Numerical simulation was used to predict heat flux and temperature levels for different geometric parameters of the spheres (diameter, wall thickness) in order to optimize the drilling process. The numerical simulation allows a detailed analysis of the physical process in the zone that is influenced by the laser beam, which can hardly be analyzed by any measuring technique. The models for transient numerical analysis consider heat conduction and convection. The experimental work was done by a CO2-laser. The percussion drilling method has been used as drilling technique. The pulse duration was in the millisecond time regime. Investigations have been done with a mean power of 100 W, 200 W and 400 W. Two focal lenses have been used with focal lengths of 5.0´´ and 7.5´´. The laser beam melts the hollow sphere structure inside the beam leaving a hole in the structure as well as in individual hollow spheres. An image processing technique was developed to determine the circularity on the spheres and the drilled diameter in the structure. The circularity declines with increasing drill depth. The diameter as function of depth can be well described with lines of constant intensity of the focussed laser beam, the isophotes.
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H. Riegel, M. Merkel, and A. Öchsner "Laser beam drilling of metal-based composites", Proc. SPIE 8963, High-Power Laser Materials Processing: Lasers, Beam Delivery, Diagnostics, and Applications III, 89630J (20 February 2014);


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