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Dit onderzoeks rapport van Catherine Wandera geeft erg veel inzicht in de techniek achter het fiber laser snijden van metalen. Leesvoer voor gevorderden met erg veel specifieke informatie.

fiberlaser-co2-snijden-afstuderen-project

 

LAPPEENRANTA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Department of Mechanical Engineering
LASER CUTTING OF AUSTENITIC STAINLESS STEEL WITH A HIGH
QUALITY LASER BEAM
The topic of the thesis has been approved by the Department Council of Mechanical
Engineering on 18th January 2006

Examiner 1: Professor Veli Kujanpää
Examiner 2: Professor Flemming O. Olsen
Supervisor: Docent Antti Salminen
Lappeenranta, 16th May 2006
Catherine Wandera
Skinnarilankatu 28 A 5
53850 Lappeenranta
Finland
Phone: +358 41 702 1174
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
I acknowledge the grace of God for the successful completion of this masters thesis work,
which was done in Lappeenranta University of Technology Laser Processing Laboratory
from October 2005 to May 2006.
I am grateful to Prof. Veli Kujanpää, Prof. Flemming Olsen from Technical University of
Denmark and Dr. Antti Salminen for guiding and examining my research work. With their
efforts, I have gained much knowledge in laser materials processing. I am also thankful to
other people at the Laser Processing Laboratory for their help and colleagues in the masters
program with whom I have always shared ideas.
Last but not least, many thanks go to my parents and fiancé Milton for their continuous
encouragement and support.
Glory be to God Almighty.
Thank you
Lappeenranta, 16th May 2006
Catherine Wandera
i
ABSTRACT
Lappeenranta University of Technology
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Author: Catherine Wandera
Title: Laser Cutting of Austenitic Stainless Steel with a High Quality Laser Beam
Thesis for the Degree of Master of Science in Technology, 2006
108 pages, 69 figures, 4 tables and 3 appendices
Examiner 1: Professor Veli Kujanpää
Examiner 2: Professor Flemming O. Olsen
Supervisor: Docent Antti Salminen
Keywords: disk laser, fiber laser, high quality laser beam, laser cutting, austenitic
stainless steel
The thin disk and fiber lasers are new solid-state laser technologies that offer a combination
of high beam quality and a wavelength that is easily absorbed by metal surfaces and are
expected to challenge the CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers in cutting of metals of thick sections
(thickness greater than 2mm). This thesis studied the potential of the disk and fiber lasers
for cutting applications and the benefits of their better beam quality.
The literature review covered the principles of the disk laser, high power fiber laser, CO2
laser and Nd:YAG laser as well as the principle of laser cutting. The cutting experiments
were made with the disk, fiber and CO2 lasers using nitrogen as an assist gas. The test
material was austenitic stainless steel of sheet thickness 1.3mm, 2.3mm, 4.3mm and 6.2mm
for the disk and fiber laser cutting experiments and sheet thickness of 1.3mm, 1.85mm,
4.4mm and 6.4mm for the CO2 laser cutting experiments. The experiments focused on the
maximum cutting speeds with appropriate cut quality. Kerf width, cut edge
perpendicularity and surface roughness were the cut characteristics used to analyze the cut
ii
quality. Attempts were made to draw conclusions on the influence of high beam quality on
the cutting speed and cut quality.
The cutting speeds were enormous for the disk and fiber laser cutting experiments with the
1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness and the cut quality was good. The disk and fiber laser
cutting speeds were lower at 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness but there was still a
considerable percentage increase in cutting speeds compared to the CO2 laser cutting
speeds at similar sheet thickness. However, the cut quality for 6.2mm thickness was not
very good for the disk and fiber laser cutting experiments but could probably be improved
by proper selection of cutting parameters.
iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS………………………………………………….. vii
1. INTRODUCTION………………………………………………………………………………………… 1
LITERATURE REVIEW ………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
2. DISK LASER TECHNOLOGY ……………………………………………………………………… 3
2.1 Thin Disk design…………………………………………………………………………………….. 3
2.2 Thin disk laser operation principle…………………………………………………………….. 4
2.3 Power scaling and beam quality………………………………………………………………… 6
2.4 Temperature profile comparison of rod systems and thin disk laser ……………….. 8
2.5 Applications and prospects…………………………………………………………………….. 10
3. HIGH POWER FIBER LASER ……………………………………………………………………. 10
3.1 Design and operation principle ……………………………………………………………….. 11
3.2 Power scaling and beam quality………………………………………………………………. 12
3.3 Applications…………………………………………………………………………………………. 12
4. OTHER CUTTING LASERS……………………………………………………………………….. 13
4.1 CO2 laser…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 13
4.1.1 Fast-axial flow CO2 laser……………………………………………………………… 14
4.1.2 Diffusion-cooled (slab) CO2 laser………………………………………………….. 15
4.1.3 Sealed-Off CO2 laser …………………………………………………………………… 16
4.2 Nd:YAG laser………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
4.2.1 Lamp pumped Nd:YAG lasers………………………………………………………. 17
4.2.2 Diode pumped Nd:YAG lasers……………………………………………………… 18
5. IMPLICATIONS OF BEAM QUALITY (BPP) ………………………………………………. 20
5.1 Process benefits of low BPP …………………………………………………………………… 21
5.2 System benefits of low BPP……………………………………………………………………. 22
6. LASER CUTTING……………………………………………………………………………………… 23
6.1 Laser fusion cutting ………………………………………………………………………………. 24
6.2 Laser oxygen cutting……………………………………………………………………………… 25
6.3 Laser vaporization cutting ……………………………………………………………………… 26
7. LASER CUTTING PARAMETERS ……………………………………………………………… 27
7.1 Beam parameters ………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
7.1.1 Wavelength………………………………………………………………………………… 27
iv
7.1.2 Power and intensity …………………………………………………………………….. 29
7.1.3 Beam quality………………………………………………………………………………. 30
7.1.4 Beam polarization……………………………………………………………………….. 31
7.2 Process parameters………………………………………………………………………………… 33
7.2.1 Continuous wave (cw) or pulsed (p) laser power……………………………… 34
7.2.2 Focal length of the lens………………………………………………………………… 36
7.2.3 Focal position relative to the material surface …………………………………. 37
7.2.4 Cutting speed……………………………………………………………………………… 38
7.2.5 Process gas and gas pressure ………………………………………………………… 38
7.2.6 Nozzle diameter and standoff distance …………………………………………… 40
7.2.7 Nozzle Alignment……………………………………………………………………….. 42
7.3 Material properties………………………………………………………………………………… 44
7.3.1 Thermal properties………………………………………………………………………. 44
7.3.2 Physical properties………………………………………………………………………. 45
8. LASER CUTTING OF STAINLESS STEEL………………………………………………….. 45
8.1 Laser inert gas cutting of stainless steel……………………………………………………. 45
8.2 Laser oxygen cutting of stainless steel……………………………………………………… 48
8.3 Workplace safety during laser cutting of stainless steel………………………………. 50
9. CHARACTERISTIC PROPERTIES OF THE LASER CUT……………………………… 51
9.1 Kerf width……………………………………………………………………………………………. 52
9.2 Perpendicularity or angularity of the cut edges………………………………………….. 54
9.3 Surface roughness…………………………………………………………………………………. 54
9.4 Dross attachment and burrs…………………………………………………………………….. 57
9.5 Heat Affected zone (HAZ) width…………………………………………………………….. 57
EXPERIMENTAL PART ………………………………………………………………………………… 59
10. PURPOSE OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY …………………………………………… 59
11. EXPERIMENTAL EQUIPMENT AND TEST PROCEDURES……………………….. 59
11.1 Test material ………………………………………………………………………………………. 59
11.2 Disk laser experiments…………………………………………………………………………. 60
11.3 Fiber laser experiments………………………………………………………………………… 62
11.4 CO2 laser experiments …………………………………………………………………………. 64
12. MEASUREMENTS ………………………………………………………………………………….. 65
12.1 Kerf width measurement………………………………………………………………………. 65
v
12.2 Perpendicularity measurement………………………………………………………………. 66
12.3 Surface roughness measurement ……………………………………………………………. 68
13. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS …………………………………………………………………….. 69
13.1 Maximum cutting speeds……………………………………………………………………… 69
13.2 Kerf width………………………………………………………………………………………….. 70
13.2.1 Disk laser…………………………………………………………………………………. 71
13.2.2 Fiber laser………………………………………………………………………………… 74
13.2.3 CO2 laser …………………………………………………………………………………. 75
13.3 Perpendicularity deviation of cut edges ………………………………………………….. 75
13.3.1 Disk laser…………………………………………………………………………………. 76
13.3.2 Fiber laser………………………………………………………………………………… 77
13.3.3 CO2 laser …………………………………………………………………………………. 78
13.4 Surface roughness……………………………………………………………………………….. 79
13.4.1 Disk laser…………………………………………………………………………………. 79
13.4.2 Fiber laser………………………………………………………………………………… 80
13.4.3 CO2 laser …………………………………………………………………………………. 82
14. DISCUSSION ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 83
14.1 Maximum cutting speeds……………………………………………………………………… 83
14.2 Kerf width………………………………………………………………………………………….. 85
14.3 Perpendicularity deviation ……………………………………………………………………. 89
14.4 Surface roughness……………………………………………………………………………….. 93
15. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS…………………………………………… 98
REFERENCES………………………………………………………………………………………………. 99
APPENDICES……………………………………………………………………………………………… 108
vi
LIST OF SYMBOLS AND ABBREVIATIONS
λ wavelength
K beam quality factor
M2 times diffraction limit factor (beam quality factor, M 1 K 2 = )
D beam diameter at the optic
d f focused beam diameter
z depth of focus
f focal length
F focal length divided by the beam diameter at the optic
Θ full divergence angle of the beam
d0 beam waist diameter
ψ angle between the plane of polarization and cutting direction
p plane of polarization
c cutting direction
U perpendicularity tolerance
Rz mean height of the profile
Ra an integral of the absolute value of the roughness profile
cw continuous wave laser power
NA Numerical Aperture
BPP Beam Parameter Product (beam quality factor, λ π 2 BPP = M )
CO2 Carbon dioxide
DPSSLs diode pumped solid state lasers
Er: Glass Erbium: Glass
HAZ heat affected zone
LPSSLs Lamp Pumped Solid State Lasers
Nd: YAG Neodymium –Yttrium Aluminium Garnet
TEM00 lowest order beam mode/ diffraction limit
Yb: YAG Ytterbium: Yttrium Aluminium Garnet
vii
1. INTRODUCTION
Stainless steel is used extensively in a number of everyday applications in the home,
industry, hospitals, food processing, farming, aerospace, construction, chemical,
electronics, and energy industries; the austenitic grade of stainless steel is the most used by
far. Cutting of stainless steel sheets is one of the primary requirements in the fabrication of
most of the components. Laser cutting offers several advantages over conventional cutting
methods such as plasma cutting. The advantages of laser cutting include high productivity
thanks to the high cutting speeds, narrow kerf width (minimum material lost), straight cut
edges, low roughness of cut surfaces, minimum metallurgical distortions, easy integration
with computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines for cutting complex profiles and it
is a non contact process suitable for cutting in areas with limited access. /1,2,3,4,5/
In the early 1980’s, laser cutting had a limited application, being mostly used in high
technology industries such as aerospace and the available commercial equipment could
only cut light sheet (1-2 mm) because of their limited power output. /6/ Laser technology
has continued to develop over the years and now many types of lasers are commercially
available. With the development of high power lasers, laser materials processing is now
being used as part of the production route for many items such that the laser is finding
increasing commercial use as a cutting tool. /7/ The laser development trends indicate that
there are more tendencies towards smaller and more efficient semiconductor lasers. The
beam quality and available power output of a particular laser cutting system affects the cut
quality obtained, the quality of the cutting process and the range of thickness that can be
satisfactorily cut. /8/
The CO2 laser and Nd:YAG laser (solid state laser) are the main lasers used for industrial
cutting applications. The CO2 laser is the most commonly used, especially for cutting of
thick sections, because of its better beam quality compared with the Nd:YAG laser of a
similar power level and the CO2 lasers are also available in higher output powers than the
Nd:YAG lasers. The Nd:YAG laser beam quality becomes poorer with increase in output
power. Nevertheless, the solid-state lasers have recently gained increasing importance in
1
high power applications mainly due to several consequences of their wavelength such as a
higher absorptivity, lower sensitivity against laser-induced plasma and the use of optical
fibres for beam delivery. /7,9,10,11/
The new solid-state laser technologies of the thin disk and high power fiber lasers – which
offer a combination of high beam quality and a wavelength that is easily absorbed by metal
surfaces – are now challenging the CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers in cutting applications. The
output powers of the thin disk and fiber lasers are scalable to the kilowatt range without
much detrimental effect on the beam quality. These systems are promising for cutting
applications because their high beam quality enables focusing of the laser beam to a small
spot producing high power density that is essential for cutting of metals and enhances
higher cutting speeds. /12,13,14/

This study consists of two parts – the literature review and experimental part. The disk
laser, fiber laser and CO2 laser technologies, the laser cutting process and the characteristic
properties of the laser cut are discussed in the literature review. Most work reviewed in the
literature covered only cutting with the CO2 laser and Nd:YAG laser and the few that
covered cutting with either the disk laser or fiber laser considered mostly the cutting speeds
without a detailed analysis of the cut quality obtained.
In the experimental part of this study, the potential of the disk laser and the fiber laser for
cutting applications and the possible consequences of their high beam quality was
investigation with comparison to the CO2 laser. The cutting experiments covered cutting of
austenitic stainless steel (grades AISI 304 and AISI 316) of sheet thickness of 1.3mm,
2.3mm, 4.3mm and 6.2mm using the disk and fiber lasers and sheet thickness of 1.3mm,
1.85mm, 4.4mm and 6.4mm using the CO2 laser. The cut qualities were analyzed by
measuring the kerf width, perpendicularity of the cut edges and the roughness of the cut
surfaces. The cut quality was classified according to the EN ISO 9013: 2002 standard for
thermal cuts. /15/
2
LITERATURE REVIEW
2. DISK LASER TECHNOLOGY
The thin disk laser concept is a laser design for diode-pumped solid-state lasers, which
allows the realization of lasers with high output power, having very good efficiency and
also excellent beam quality. The optical distortion of the laser beam is low due to the
surface cooling of the disk and therefore operation of the thin disk laser is possible in
fundamental mode at extremely high output power. /12,13/
2.1 Thin Disk design
The principle of the thin disk laser design is shown in figure 1. The laser crystal is shaped
as a disk with a diameter of several mm – depending on the output power/energy – and a
thickness of 100 µm to 200 µm, depending on the laser active material, the doping
concentration and the pump design. The thin disk material is Yttrium-Aluminium-Garnet
(YAG) and the central active portion of the disk may be doped with Ytterbium (Yb) ions.
/13/

Figure 1. Thin disk laser design: The laser crystal is shaped as a disk with a diameter of
several mm (depending on the output power) and a thickness of 100 µm to 200 µm /13/
3
Increase in the heat dissipation capacity of a disk varies inversely with the disk thickness,
therefore, the thinnest possible disk that is consistent with the pump geometry must be used
to maximize the output intensity. However, a disk with a small thickness has very short
absorption distance; therefore, its absorption of single pass pump radiation is low. The use
of a highly absorbing gain medium in combination with a pumping geometry that allows
multi-passing of the pump light ensures efficient absorption of pump power by the thin gain
sample. For that reason, Ytterbium-doped YAG (Yb:YAG), which emits a laser beam with
a wavelength of 1070-nm, is currently the preferred disk material because of its high
absorption of the 940-nm pump light. The Yb:YAG disks can be made much thinner than
the Nd:YAG disks. /16/
The back side of the disk is highly reflectively coated for both the laser and the pump
wavelengths and acts as the mirror in the resonator; the front side is antireflectively coated
for both wavelengths. The disk is mounted with its back side on a water-cooled heat sink
using indium based or gold-tin solder allowing a very stiff fixation of the disk on the heat
sink without any deformation of the disk. /13,16/
2.2 Thin disk laser operation principle
In principle, the thin disk is optically excited from the front surface by high power, diode
laser modules assembled in stacks. The parabolic mirror reflects the pump light
(wavelength 940 nm) emitted by the laser diodes onto the thin disk laser active Yb:YAG
crystal. The pump light is reflected from the coated backside of the disk and strikes the
parabolic mirror a second time, deflects onto a retro reflector and returns to the parabolic
mirror from which it is recoupled into the disk. The process continues until after 16 passes
when the pump light is completely absorbed and a high quality laser beam with a
wavelength of 1070nm is emitted as shown in figure 2. The reflective layer on the backside
of the disk and an outcoupling mirror, situated in front of the parabolic reflector, set up the
resonator. The high quality laser beam emitted is coupled into the optic fiber of 150 µm or
300 µm in core diameter and long fibers, 100 m, are allowed. /16,17/

4

Figure 2. Thin Disk laser principle /17/
The disk laser is based on a “multi-pass-excitation–concept” and high values for
regenerative amplification in order to compensate for the small crystal volume. The multi
pass pump geometries developed by scientists at the University of Stuttgart accommodate
the use of thin disks. With this approach, the pump beam is re-imaged through the sample
more than 16 times to increase the net absorption path. /13,16,18/
Other pumping principle – Edge pumped disk
John Vetrovec et al. explored an alternative pump configuration, by edge pumping a
composite thin disk laser, as a way of addressing the very complicated pump geometry and
the limitations it imposes on power scaling. The composite thin disk consists of a doped
central active portion and an undoped perimetral edge. Figure 3 shows the edge pumped
disk. /19/ However, edge pumping is not the usual pumping method used for the thin disk
laser.
5

Figure 3. (a) Edge pumped disk (b) Exploded view of edge pumped disk /19/
2.3 Power scaling and beam quality
Thin disk laser configurations have a capacity for continuous wave (cw) output powers
exceeding 1 kW and enable the generation of high average power by minimizing the
distance over which waste heat is transported. With each disk producing kilowatts of
power, power scaling by the thin disc laser concept can be achieved by increasing the pump
diameter on the disc or use of several discs arranged along a folded resonator axis, the
approach shown on the right-hand side of figure 4. Alternatively, power scaling can be
achieved by polarization coupling of two different resonators. /12/
6

Figure 4. The thin disc laser: Scheme (left) and principle of power scaling by the number
of discs. /12/
The Beam Parameter Product (BPP) describes the beam quality of the laser beam in relation
to the ideal TEM00 mode. The implications of the BPP for laser materials processing will be
discussed in detail in chapter 5. Tables 1 and 2 illustrate the laser powers and the
corresponding beam quality of the thin disk laser systems and the diode-pumped solid-state
laser rod systems in continuous wave mode. The thin disk laser has a better beam quality,
characterized by a low Beam Parameter Product (BPP), than the conventional solid-state
lasers with rod systems. The high-powered disk laser, with an output power of 4000 W, has
a beam quality of 8 mm.mrad and the output can be coupled into a 200- µ m-diameter
optical fiber. It is also worth noting that the disk laser enables scaling up of output power
without loss in beam quality while for the rod systems, scaling up of output power causes
loss in beam quality. /16,18,20,21/
7
Table 1: High-Powered Disk Laser /16/
Laser device HLD
251
HLD
501
HLD
1001.5
HLD
2002
HLD
4002
Max. Output power [W] 300 600 1500 2650 5300
Laser power* [W] 250 500 1000 2000 4000
Beam quality [mm.mrad] 4 4 6 8 8
Laser light cable [ µ m] 100 100 150 200 200 *
at the workpiece, controlled over entire life of diodes
Table 2: Diode-pumped cw solid state lasers (Rod systems) /16/
Laser device HLD
1003
HLD
2304
HLD
3006
HLD
3504
HLD
4506
Max. output power [W] 1300 3000 4000 4500 6000
Laser power* [W] 1000 2300 3000 3500 4500
Beam quality [mm.mrad] 12 16 25 16 25
Laser light cable [ µ m] 300 400 600 400 600 *
at the workpiece, controlled over entire life of diodes
The superior beam quality of the disk laser brings many advantages such as the reduction of
the focal diameter. The other benefits include higher cutting and welding speeds, shorter
cycle times and lower heat input into the workpiece. /16,17,22/
2.4 Temperature profile comparison of rod systems and thin disk laser
For the rod systems, the heat load on the lasing medium creates an optical distortion of the
laser light. Cooling of the rod occurs radially such that only the outer surfaces of the rod are
cooled while the center of the rod is at a higher temperature forming a parabolic
temperature profile. This thermal gradient from center to edges of the rod creates a
8
mechanical stress that results in the optical distortion termed thermal lensing, whereby the
laser crystal acts as a lens with shorter focal length at higher powers thus resulting in poorer
beam quality at higher powers. Rod diameters vary from 2 to 10 mm and lengths from 50 to
over 200 mm; the larger and longer rods produce more laser power but at poorer beam
qualities. Rods longer than 250 mm have optical design limitations as the thermal lensing
of the rod increases with increase in the rod length and pump power. /7,10,13,23/
The thermal lensing that occurs in rod systems is virtually eliminated by the disk laser’s
geometric relationship between the excitation source, cooling and resonator resulting into
significant increase in beam quality at a given power level. The disk laser utilizes a thin
disk, which increases the cooled surface area with respect to the laser volume. Cooling of
the thin disk takes place by axial heat flow resulting in a radially homogeneous temperature
profile and negligible residual thermal lensing. Increasing the disk surface area or reducing
the disk thickness improves the continuous or average power while maintaining a constant
beam quality. /13,16,23/ Figure 5 shows the cooling patterns for the thin disk and the rod
lasers.
Figure 5. Temperature profiles of the Thin disk and Rod lasers /23/
Fine cutting and drilling lasers require much better beam quality because the cut width is
directly related to beam quality and wide cut kerfs greatly increase heat input into the part.
9
Welding lasers on the other hand can employ poorer beam quality because larger focus
spots increase joint area such as in lap joints thus improving weld strength and tolerance to
joint position. /10/

2.5 Applications and prospects
The high beam quality of the disk laser offers benefits in macro applications such as
scanner welding, keyhole welding and cutting. /23/ It also provides higher rates of feed and
shorter cycle times with minimal heat input, which is advantageous when welding
aluminium or cutting thin sheet metal. /16/
The disk laser, having a shorter infrared wavelength than the CO2 laser, might find
favorable application in processing of highly reflective and conductive metals such as silver
and copper because its wavelength is highly absorbed by these metal surfaces. The high
beam quality will also enable new applications such as Laser Selective Melting, whereby
complex 3-D parts can be produced out of metal powder layer by layer. The use of smaller
fibers (200 µm) for beam delivery will permit higher power densities that could have an
impact on laser cutting systems and remote welding. The reduced fiber diameter also allows
a larger working area and a larger working distance. In general, the disk laser might find
wide application in areas of the present Nd:YAG laser and much more. /16,24,25,26,27/
3. HIGH POWER FIBER LASER
The fibre laser is one of the new developments of diode pumped solid-state lasers
(DPSSLs). /12/ The fiber lasers have been primarily used in communications. However, the
new development of the double-clad high power fiber lasers for materials processing
promise to disrupt existing technology bases such as the Nd:YAG laser, opening an
opportunity for fiber lasers in significant non-telecommunications markets such laser
welding, cutting and marking. /28/ The primary material processing fiber lasers are at the
Ytterbium (Yb) 1070nm wavelength, consistent with where the YAG laser operates. /29/
The ytterbium fibre (Yb:glass) lasers with output powers upto 50kW far exceed the laser
10
powers that are available using Nd:YAG laser technology, while also offering a better beam
quality. The fiber laser offers great potential in terms of welding and cutting operations.
The single mode Erbium fiber (Er:glass) lasers with wavelengths from 1530nm to 1600nm
are available at output powers of 1 – 100 W and beam quality M2
less than 1.1mm.mrad.
/30,31,32/
3.1 Design and operation principle
A fiber laser is made from several meters of multi-clad single mode active fiber, side
pumped by single stripe multimode diodes. The wall plug efficiency of the Yb fiber laser is
greater than 20%, which allows the device to be air-cooled. Figure 6 illustrates the scheme
of the clad-pumped fiber laser. /12,29/

Figure 6. Scheme of the clad-pumped fibre laser /12/
The radiation of the diode lasers is focused into the relatively large nonactive cladding part
of the pump core (diameter of 100µm, Numerical Aperture, ) from where the
diode pump light is then coupled to the active medium in the fiber core (see figure 6). The
pump light, confined in the pump core by a coating with a lower index of refraction,
NA ≈ 0.4
11
propagates along the optical axis crossing the monomode laser core and exciting there the
laser active medium over a length of several meters. The laser light exits the cavity through
a single mode passive fiber that could be up to 50 meters long. The beam quality
corresponding to diffraction-limited values (M2
< 1.1) is a function of the fiber’s optical
properties only and is independent of temperature or power. /12,29/
3.2 Power scaling and beam quality
Fibre lasers offer the advantage of being easily scalable such that output power in the kWrange
can be achieved by incoherent coupling of several fibre lasers. Kilowatt and multikilowatt
laser output is obtained by combining single mode fiber modules and the
combined output delivered through a single multimode fiber. Although the output is no
longer single mode, the systems have excellent beam properties equal to or lower than
conventional CO2 or Nd:YAG lasers. The beam delivery fiber for a 1-kilowatt system is
100 microns and for a 10-kilowatt system is 300 microns, which allows for longer working
distances and more consistent processing than conventional Nd:YAG lasers with fiber
delivery. The reliability remains high, due to the module construction, with no additional
component stress as power is increased. /12,29/
3.3 Applications
Fiber lasers have a wide range of applications and hence have the potential to dominate the
material processing market in the future. These lasers are demonstrating process and cost
advantages across the entire spectrum of material processing applications including: metal
cutting, welding, silicon cutting, ceramic scribing, spot welding, bending, powder
deposition, surface modification and marking. The applications by industry include:
• Automotive: welding transmission components, welding a sheet metal, cutting
hydro-formed parts, marking, remote welding
• Computer: spot welding, annealing, silicon cutting
12
• Aerospace: welding Aluminum and Titanium, surface build up on blades, cutting
aerospace components
• Medical device: marking, cutting, spot welding /29/
4. OTHER CUTTING LASERS
Lasers that are capable of producing high power laser beams of high beam quality are
suitable for cutting applications. The CO2 and Nd: YAG lasers are the two laser
technologies have for long been the workhorses for high power applications such as cutting.
The CO2 laser has gained considerable acceptance as a cutting tool because a very high
power density can be achieved with such a laser and CO2 lasers are available in high power
levels. /33,34/ The CO2 laser and Nd:YAG laser with output power capabilities of upto
8,000 W and 4,500 W respectively are now available for cutting applications. The CO2
lasers with even higher output powers (upto 20,000 W) are powerhorses for welding and
surface treatment applications. /35,36,37,38/
4.1 CO2 laser
CO2 lasers emit the infrared laser radiation with a wavelength of 10.6 µm and posses
overall efficiencies of approximately 10 to 13%. The laser-active medium in a CO2 laser is
a mixture of CO2, N2 and He gases, where CO2 is the laser-active molecule. The stimulation
of the laser-active medium is accomplished by electrical discharge in the gas. During the
stimulation process, the nitrogen molecules transfer energy from electron impact to the CO2
molecules. The transition from energetically excited CO2 molecules (upper vibrational
level) to a lower energy level (lower vibrational level) is accompanied by photon release
leading to emission of a laser beam. The CO2 molecules return to the ground state by
colliding with the helium atoms, which comprise the major share of the gas mixture, and
the CO2 molecules in the ground state are then available for another cycle. The stimulation
of the electrical gas discharge in the gas mixture is accomplished by either direct current or
radio frequency stimulation. In direct current stimulated lasers, gas discharge between
13
electrodes allows the electrical energy to be directly coupled into the laser gas while the
radio frequency stimulated lasers are characterized by capacitive incoupling of the
electrical energy needed for gas discharge. /33,39/
There are different designs of the CO2 laser that use different modes of gas flow and
cooling enabling effective beam delivery over a wide range of output power. The CO2 laser
technology includes the following designs: Transverse flow (cross-flow) laser, Fast-axial
flow laser, Diffusion-cooled slab laser and Sealed-Off laser. They can be operated in either
the CW mode or pulsed mode. The beam power and beam quality of the transverse flow
(cross-flow) CO2 laser (multi-mode, ) are favorable for laser welding
applications. The CO
K ≥ 0.18
2 laser designs that are used for cutting applications are discussed in
the following sections. /35,39/
4.1.1 Fast-axial flow CO2 laser
The fast-axial flow lasers have different designs based on different beam paths. The
different beam paths of the fast-axial flow laser designs include triangular beam path,
rectangular beam path and beam trajectory planes oriented at a 45˚ angle to each other. Due
to their physical principle, the fast-axial flow lasers provide a better beam quality than
cross-flow lasers. /39/
Figure 7 shows a fast-axial flow laser design with an optical resonator that consists of a rear
mirror and a diamond outcoupling mirror. The beam trajectory of this fast-axial flow laser
is mirror-folded in four paths and forms two planes oriented at a 45˚ angle to each other.
Three of the four paths, all consisting of quartz glass tubes, contain a total of 12 electrode
pairs for radio frequency excitation of the laser gas mixture passing through the tubes.
Turbines generate the laser gas flow and the laser gas flows through a heat exchanger
before and after passing through the turbine. The cooling water, which passes through the
heat exchanger in a separate closed loop, cools down the laser gas. The performance
stability of the fast-axial flow laser is directly related to the thermal stability of the supplied
laser gas therefore the temperature regulation for the water loop must be highly constant. A
14
linearly polarized laser radiation is emitted through the resonator construction eliminating
the need for additional polarization optics outside the resonator. /35,39/

1. Rear mirror
2. Laser beam
3. Diamond-output mirror
4. Excited discharge (12 x)
5. Fold mirror (4x)
Figure 7. Fast Axial flow (FAF) laser with beam trajectory planes oriented at 45˚
angle
/35/
4.1.2 Diffusion-cooled (slab) CO2 laser
The diffusion cooled (slab) CO2 lasers, available in a power range between 1 and 5 kW,
have a highly compact design. These lasers are equipped with large-area copper electrodes
and radio frequency gas discharge takes place between the electrodes as illustrated in figure
8. The narrow inter-electrode spacing allows effective heat removal from the discharge
chamber via the directly water-cooled electrodes giving rise to comparatively high power
density. Heat transport is exclusively by diffusion hence the name “diffusion-cooled laser”.
The unstable resonator consists of rotation-parabolic mirrors, allowing outcoupling of a
laser beam with extremely good focusing properties. External, water-cooled, reflective
beam shaping components are used to convert the originally rectangular beam to a rotation
symmetrical beam with a beam quality of . The major advantages of this type of
laser include the compact and almost entirely wear-resistant design, and the practically
negligible gas consumption. /35,39/
K ≥ 0.9
15

1. Laser beam
2. Beam shaping unit
3. Output mirror
4. Cooling water
5. RF excitation
6. Cooling water
7. Rear mirror
8. RF excited discharge
9. Wave-guiding electrodes

Figure 8. Diffusion-cooled (slab) CO2 laser /35/

 

4.1.3 Sealed-Off CO2 laser
The Sealed-Off CO2 laser is based on sealed gas laser expertise of the diffusion-cooled Slab
laser technology. The Sealed-Off CO2 lasers are maintenance-free, completely sealed and
require no external gas, making them robust and highly reliable. These lasers are available
with output powers of upto 600 W and are typically used for cutting of non-metals (paper,
glass, plastics) and metals, rapid prototyping and marking applications. /35,40,41/
4.2 Nd:YAG laser
The Nd:YAG laser is a solid-state laser consisting of a crystal that absorbs light energy in
the 810 nm region to produce the 1064 nm laser output. The laser active medium is a
synthetic single crystal of yttrium-aluminum- garnet (YAG) that is doped with a low
percentage of the rare earth neodymium (Nd3+ ion) and emits infrared laser radiation with a
wavelength of 1.064 µm. The YAG is the host for the Nd3+ ion and the lasing action is
developed in the Nd3+ ion. The crystal is fabricated into a rod and the volume of a given rod
determines its average power capability. The excitation of the active medium is
accomplished by broadband optical radiation – from flash lamps (pulsed), an intense arc
16
lamp (continuous wave mode, CW) or laser diodes – which is coupled into the crystal.
/10,33/
Unlike gas lasers, the Nd:YAG laser crystal is optically active in the resonator therefore its
optical characteristics vary with the laser parameters, affecting the output beam quality. The
YAG crystal acts as a positive lens when it is pumped because of the high temperature at
the center as cooling water is in contact only with the outer surface and this thermal lensing
of the rod increases with increasing pump power. /10/ The lamp pumped and diode pumped
Nd:YAG lasers are discussed in the sections that follow.
4.2.1 Lamp pumped Nd:YAG lasers
For pulsed Nd:YAG lasers, the flash lamps are specifically designed for the typical
repetitive high-peak-current electrical pulses that create the laser pulses. The flash lamps
have special design features to improve their reliability and life because of the high peak
currents in the lamp during a pulse. The wall thickness is optimized for high-pressure
spikes, the electrodes shaped for repeatable arc production, and the mass and placement of
the electrodes is optimized for minimal thermal stresses where the metal electrode is sealed
to the glass enveloped. /10/
Lamps for cw lasers have slightly different designs because of their continuous mode of
operation. A laser operating in the cw mode requires much higher pumping energy because
of lower photon flux in the laser and the lamps must be able to withstand the higher average
power delivered to them. Cooling must be optimized for the high-power operation but the
high-pressure spikes of pulsing lamps are not a concern for cw lamps therefore the lamp
jacket walls can be thinner but the electrode size must be increased for better cooling. /10/
Figure 9 shows the structure of a lamp pumped Nd:YAG rod laser.

17

Figure 9. Scheme showing the structure of a lamp-pumped rod laser /39/
4.2.2 Diode pumped Nd:YAG lasers
The replacement of lamps by diodes to pump the laser crystals offers substantial advantages
in terms of increased efficiency, reduced cooling, and smaller size and weight as compared
to lamp pumping. The longer lifetime of diodes (10,000 h appears realistic) is beneficial
with respect to running costs. As a result of the lower heat release in the crystal, the
temperature-dependent thermal lens effect is less pronounced in the diode pumped solidstate
lasers (DPSSLs) but it is not completely eliminated. However, the concepts of the new
generation of high-power DPSSLs – thin disc and fiber lasers – overcome the thermal lens
effect yielding a higher beam quality. /10,12/
The diode pump light can be injected into the end of the rod, termed end-pumped lasers
(figure 10), however, the use of side-pumped resonators (figure 11) is most common for
high power lasers and more efficient coupling of diode pump light into the laser medium.
/10/
18
Figure 10. Principle of a diode pumped rod laser. (End-pumped: Longitudinal pumping)
/39/

 

Figure 11. Principle of a diode pumped rod laser. (Side pumped: Transverse pumping) /39/
Although, the traditional Nd:YAG lasers are limited in output power level, the wavelength
of the Nd:YAG laser is more easily absorbed by metal surfaces as compared to the CO2
laser wavelength making the Nd:YAG laser more suitable for processing of metals that
have a high reflectivity such as aluminium and copper. Additionally, the use of optical
fibers for beam handling is an advantage for YAG lasers in terms of flexibility and
19
integration in the industry. The Nd:YAG laser has much been used for high precision or
microprocessing applications /9,42,43/
The disadvantages of the traditional Nd:YAG lasers like poor beam quality and low
efficiency are being effectively reduced by the new concepts of diode pumped systems of
the thin disk and fiber lasers. These new developments of high power solid-state lasers in
the kW power range coupled with a higher beam quality will enable new applications,
which were originally only achievable with CO2 lasers. /12/
5. IMPLICATIONS OF BEAM QUALITY (BPP)
The Beam Parameter Product (BPP) is widely used to characterize the quality of the beam.
The BPP is described by the Times diffraction limit factor (M2
) which tells how much
larger is the BPP of the laser under consideration compared to the physically lowest for a
beam in the TEM00 mode (Diffraction limit). Therefore, a low BPP characterizes a high
beam quality. Figure 12, which is a status of 1999 shows the M2
data for commercially
available and laboratory –state lasers. /12/
In recent years, the thin disk and fiber laser systems are now commercially available at
higher power levels and better beam quality than that shown in figure 12. The trumpf disk
lasers deliver up to 4000 W laser power with beam quality of 8 mm.mrad and IPG
photonics high power cw fiber lasers deliver up to 20000 W with excellent beam parameter
product. The thin disk and fiber lasers can be used for welding and cutting applications.
/16,44/
20

Figure 12. Times diffraction limit factor M2
depending on laser power of devices for
materials processing. /12/
Besides the wavelength, which affects the physical mechanisms involved in energy
coupling and hence process efficiency, stability and quality, another inherent and equally
important property of the laser beam is its BPP. A low BPP is beneficial for both the
process and system. /12/
5.1 Process benefits of low BPP
For the deep penetration welding and cutting processes, a characteristic temperature has to
be reached in the material for melting and evaporation to occur while some energy is lost
by heat conduction away from the interaction zone. Consequently, these processes are
characterized by energy thresholds such that a power intensity exceeding the threshold
value is required in order to yield a safe process and this is more easily reached the smaller
the focused diameter (df) for a given power. The maximum achievable speed for welding or
cutting also roughly scales with the power intensity. At a given value of traverse speed, v,
the welding depth or cut thickness can be raised proportionally to the power intensity. The
21
beneficial effect of high beam quality (low value of BPP or M2
) is in achieving a smaller
focused diameter, which reduces the necessary power for doing a particular job. /12/
5.2 System benefits of low BPP
To obtain a particular focused diameter (df), the F-number (focal length divided by beam
diameter on the optic) can be made larger if M2
is smaller which is beneficial in designing
of focusing heads basing on two aspects that are explained below. /12/
Firstly, increasing the F-number by applying optics with larger focal lengths enlarges the
working distance and the depth of focus thereby making the process less sensitive to
variations in the working distance due to handling or workpiece inaccuracies. The optics
would also be less exposed to fume and spatters. /12/
Secondly, the beam diameter (D) at the optic can be made smaller if a smaller focal length
(f) can be tolerated. Consequently, the optic and the focusing head can be made smaller in
size and mass making it favorable with respect to better accessibility and higher dynamics
of the robot handling the focusing head. This aspect is also important for multi-focus
techniques, as it is easier to build focusing optics for the combination or splitting of beams
into a desired focus matrix when the diameters of the individual beams can be kept smaller.
/12/
Furthermore, the beam quality is essential if a beam combination at the entrance side of the
fiber is intended to increase the power at the workpiece above the level available by a
single device or module. The attainable focused diameter after fiber transmission is closely
related to the fiber diameter (d) and a small fiber diameter, which is favored by a high beam
quality, is desirable. /12/
22
6. LASER CUTTING
Laser cutting is a thermal cutting process in which a cut kerf (slot) is formed by the heating
action of a focused traversing laser beam of power density on the order of 104
W mm-2 in
combination with the melt shearing action of a stream of inert or active assist gas. /45/ The
focused laser beam melts the material throughout the material thickness and a pressurized
gas jet, acting coaxially with the laser beam, blows away the molten material from the cut
kerf. The basic principle of laser cutting is shown in figure 13 and the terms related to the
cutting process are illustrated in figure 14. /9,11,25/

Figure 13. Basic principle of laser cutting /46/

Figure 14. Terms related to the cutting process of the workpiece /15/
The laser cutting process types, defined according to their dominant transformation process,
include: laser fusion cutting (inert gas cutting), laser oxygen cutting and laser vaporization
23
cutting. These cutting methods – discussed in detail in the following sections – are
applicable for the cutting of metals commonly used in industry. /9,11/
6.1 Laser fusion cutting
The laser fusion cutting process, also called inert gas melt shearing, is based on
transformation of the material along the kerf into the molten state by heating with laser
energy and the molten material blown out of the kerf by a high-pressure inert gas jet. The
laser beam is the only heat source during this cutting process and the high-pressure inert
gas jet is responsible for melt ejection. The inert gas jet (mainly nitrogen or argon) is also
responsible for shielding the heated material from the surrounding air as well as protecting
the laser optics. Figure 15 is a schematic of laser fusion cutting. /9,11,25,45/

 

Figure 15. A sketch of laser fusion cutting /9/
Laser fusion cutting is applicable to all metals especially stainless steels and other highly
alloyed steels, aluminium and titanium alloys. A high quality cut edge is formed but the
cutting speeds are relatively low in comparison with active gas cutting mechanisms. The
advantage of this process is that the resulting cut edges are free of oxides and have the same
corrosion resistance as the substrate. The cut edges may be welded without any post-cutting
24
preparation. The main technical demand is to avoid adherent melt (dross attachment) at the
bottom edges of the kerf. A high pressure (above 10 bar) is recommended to remove liquid
that can adhere to the underside and solidify as dross. /9,11, 25,45/

6.2 Laser oxygen cutting
The principle of laser oxygen cutting is that the focused laser beam heats the material in an
oxidizing atmosphere and ignites an exothermic oxidation reaction of the oxygen with the
material. The exothermic reaction supports the laser cutting process by providing additional
heat input in the cutting zone resulting into higher cutting speeds compared to laser cutting
with inert gases. The laser beam is responsible for igniting and stabilizing a burning process
within the kerf, and the assist gas blows out the molten material from the cut zone and
protects the laser optics. Figure 16 is a schematic of laser oxygen cutting. /9,11, 25,45/

 

Figure 16. A sketch of laser oxygen cutting /9/
Laser oxygen cutting is applicable to mild steel and low-alloyed steel. The formation of the
oxide layer on the cutting front increases the absorption of the laser radiation compared to
absorption of a pure metallic melt. The oxides reduce the viscosity and surface tension of
25
the melt and thereby simplify melt ejection. However, the resulting cut edges are oxidized.
/9/

6.3 Laser vaporization cutting
During laser vaporization cutting, the material is heated beyond its melting temperature and
eventually vaporized. A process gas jet is used to blow the material vapor out of the kerf to
avoid precipitation of the hot gaseous emissions on the workpiece and to prevent them from
condensation within the developing kerf. Figure 17 is a schematic of laser vaporization
cutting. /9,11/

Figure 17. A sketch of laser vaporization cutting /9/
Typical materials that are cut by the vaporization method are acrylic, polymers, wood,
paper, leather and some ceramics. This method has a high power requirement that depends
on the thermal properties of the material. High power densities are obtained by appropriate
adjustment of the laser radiation and focusing. For cutting of metals, laser vaporization
cutting is the method with the lowest speed among other methods; however, it is suitable
for very precise, complex cut geometries in thin workpieces. /9,45/
26
7. LASER CUTTING PARAMETERS
The laser cutting parameters are dependent on the beam characteristics, the cutting rate
required, the composition and thickness of the material to be cut, and the desired cut edge
quality. The laser cutting process and cut quality depend upon the proper selection of laser
and workpiece parameters. /45,47/ Deficiencies in cutting quality may be related to the
slow process drifts and disturbances that are caused by velocity fluctuations, variation in
power and spatial intensity distribution as well as optical integrity perturbations. /34/ The
effects of the beam parameters, process parameters and material parameters are described
in the following sections.
7.1 Beam parameters
These are parameters that characterize the properties of the laser beam and include the
wavelength, power and intensity, beam quality and polarization. Prior to significant heating
of the workpiece, the incident laser beam is reflected, scattered and absorbed in proportions
determined by the wavelength of the irradiation, the state of polarization of the laser beam,
the angle of incidence and the optical properties of the surface. /47/
7.1.1 Wavelength
Reflectivity of metallic materials to laser light is a function of laser wavelength whereby
metals are highly reflective to long infrared wavelengths (CO2 laser wavelength) than the
shorter infrared wavelengths (Nd:YAG laser wavelength). /48,49/ An Nd:YAG beam can
be focused to a smaller diameter than a CO2 laser beam, providing more accuracy, a
narrower kerf width and low surface roughness. /45/ Figure 18 shows the absorption
phenomena of some frequently used metals over a range of different laser wavelengths.
27

Figure 18. Absorption phenomena of typical metals over a range of different laser
wavelengths. /50/
Absorption of the longer infrared wavelength of a CO2 laser (10.6µm) is governed by the
electrical conductivity of the material. At room temperature, highly conducting metals such
as gold, silver, aluminium and copper absorb only a very small amount of CO2 laser
radiation and reflect the large majority of it, medium conductors such as steel show an
absorption of around 10% and insulators such as plastics and wood-based materials show a
perfect absorption. On the other hand, the absorption of the shorter infrared wavelength of
the Nd:YAG laser (1.06µm) is governed by the lattice atoms. For metals, this mechanism
leads to good absorption that is higher than in the case of CO2 laser wavelength. However,
insulators show only negligible absorption and nearly perfect transmission of radiation at
the Nd:YAG wavelength because insulators require large energy to be ionized in order for
absorption of radiation to take place. Nevertheless, the suitability of a particular laser for an
application than others is more often attributed to other laser parameters such as peak
power, pulse length and focusability other than wavelength characteristics. Both Nd:YAG
and CO2 lasers can overcome the high initial reflectivity of many metals provided the
intensity of the focused beam is sufficiently high. /48,49/
28
Metals that are highly reflective to the CO2 laser light at room temperature become better
absorbers when they are heated. After a cut has been started, the cut acts as a black body
and the incident laser light is strongly absorbed by the thin molten layer. The reflectivity of
the laser light impinging on the melt surface is dependent on the angle of incidence of the
laser beam, plane of polarization of the laser light and the optical properties of the molten
material. The heating – increased absorption – heating cycle is difficult to set up in the very
highly reflective non-ferrous metals such as copper and aluminium. This is because these
metals combine a high reflectivity with a high thermal conductivity, which reduces the
efficiency of the cutting process. /9,11,25/
7.1.2 Power and intensity
Laser power is the total energy emitted in the form of laser light per second while the
intensity of the laser beam is the power divided by the area over which the power is
concentrated. High beam intensity, obtained by focusing the laser beam to a small spot, is
desirable for cutting applications because it causes rapid heating of the kerf leaving little
time for the heat to dissipate to the surrounding which results into high cutting speeds and
excellent cut quality. Additionally, reflectivity of most metals is high at low beam
intensities but much lower at high intensities and cutting of thicker materials requires
higher intensities. The optimum incident power is established during procedure
development because excessive power results in a wide kerf width, a thicker recast later
and an increase in dross while insufficient power cannot initiate cutting. /45,49/
High power beams can be achieved both in pulsed and continuous modes; however, high
power lasers do not automatically deliver high intensity beams. Therefore, the focusability
of the laser beam is an important factor to be considered. /49/
29
7.1.3 Beam quality
The laser beam quality is characterized by the mode of a laser beam, which is the energy
distribution through its cross section. A good beam mode having uniform energy
distribution is essential for laser cutting because it can be focused to a very small spot
giving high power density, which leads to high cutting speeds and low roughness. Higher
order modes with zones of elevated energy density outside the major spot may result in a
poor cut quality due to heating of the material outside the kerf. /49/
Theoretically, the lowest order mode, TEM00, refers to a gaussian intensity distribution
about a central peak. The TEM00 mode gives the smallest focused spot size with very high
intensity in comparison with higher order beam modes. The TEM00 mode also has the
largest depth of focus and therefore gives the best performance when cutting thicker
materials. The highest edge quality can be obtained if the Rayleigh length (depth of focus)
is equal to the sheet thickness. However, in practice, high power lasers usually deliver
higher order modes that give a larger focused spot size than the TEM00 mode. The laser
beam quality is measured by factors K or M2
( 1 K 2 M = ) and the TEM00 mode has a beam
quality factor, K, close to 1 while higher order modes have lower K-values. An M2
value of
1 corresponds to a ‘perfect’ gaussian beam profile but all real beams have M2
values greater
than 1. /45,49,51/
The K or M2
value is sufficient for the comparison of laser beams from similar laser
systems having the same wavelength. The Beam Parameter Product (BPP) is the standard
measure of beam quality that is used for the comparison of laser beams from different laser
systems because it includes the wavelength effects. The BPP is defined by the relationship
in equation 1 below.
4 ……………………………………………………………….(1) 2 BPP = Θd0 = λM π
In this relation, Θ denotes the full divergence angle, the waist diameter, λ the
wavelength and
d0
2 M the times diffraction limit factor which tells how much larger is the
BPP of the laser under consideration compared to the physically lowest value of λ π for a
30
beam in the TEM00 mode (diffraction limit). The focus diameter ( ) achievable with a
given focusing number (F – focal length divided by the beam diameter on the optic) is
directly proportional to the BPP as illustrated in equation 2 below.
d f
…….
..
( ) ( ) 4 4 …………………………………. (2 2 d f = Θd0 F = λ π M F = F ⋅ BPP )
The depth of focus ( ) describing the distance within which the beam’s cross-section and
hence its power density varies up to a factor of 2, also directly depends on the BPP as
equation 3 illustrates.
z
( ) ( ) 4 4 ………………………… (3 2 2 2 2
z = d f F = Θd0 F = λ π M F = F ⋅ BPP ) /12/
The CO2 lasers for high speed cutting have K-values around 0.8 while Nd:YAG lasers in
the kW-range tend to have lower beam qualities than CO2 lasers of the corresponding
power. /49/ However, the new developments of the solid-state laser namely: the thin disk
laser and fiber laser have noticeably better beam qualities than Nd:YAG lasers. /16,31/
7.1.4 Beam polarization
In laser cutting, the laser light is coupled into the material on the cut front where light
absorption takes place in a thin surface molten layer. The reflectivity of the laser light
impinging on the melt surface is dependent on the angle of incidence of the laser light,
plane of polarization of the laser light and optical properties of the molten material. /52/
Laser beam polarization can be linear (also called plane polarization), circular, elliptic or
random. Linear polarization exists in two possibilities, either parallel or perpendicular to
the plane of incidence, and the two options are absorbed differently in different directions
during the cutting process. The material is a good absorber of parallel-polarized light at an
irradiation angle known as Brewster’s angle, which is about 80°. On the other hand, the
perpendicularly polarized light is reflected more strongly. /48,49,53/
The influence of beam polarization during cutting is basically related to the inclination of
the cut kerf resulting from the relationship between the polarization surface and the cutting
direction. The polarization influence becomes larger as the plate thickness increases and is
31
most significant on cutting of materials with a high reflectivity for normal incident
radiation i.e. metallic materials than when cutting materials with a low reflectivity for
normal incident radiation i.e. nonmetals. When cutting of materials with a high reflectivity
for normal incident radiation is performed with a linear polarized laser, the absorption of
energy in the cutting kerf depends upon the angle, ψ, between the plane of polarization, p,
and the cutting direction, c, as shown in figure 19. /45,49,54,55/

Figure 19. The relative absorption of energy for different orientations of the cutting
direction and direction of polarization, whereby ψ is the angle between the plane of
polarization, p, and the cutting direction, c. /55/

When the angle ψ, is 0°, the front of the cutting kerf absorbs more energy than the sides but
when the angle, ψ, is 90°, the front of the cutting kerf absorbs less energy than the sides.
Therefore, the cutting speed can be higher when cutting in the same direction as the plane
of polarization than when cutting in a direction perpendicular to the plane of polarization.
The energy absorption is asymmetric when ψ is between 0° and 90° causing an asymmetric
cutting profile. A smaller cut kerf width is obtained when cutting in the direction of
polarization than when cutting in the perpendicular direction. /55/

The perfectly circularly polarized light achieves nearly uniform cut kerfs in every direction
but the linearly or elliptically polarized light produces a variation on the inclination of the
cut kerf. /54/ Metal cutting with a linear polarized beam is an advantage if cutting can be
done in direction of the polarization but curve cutting with a linear polarized beam causes
variation in the cutting profile as shown in figure 20 in which the cut edges are not square
32
in some positions. /55/ When cutting is to be performed in more than one direction, circular
or random beam polarization is favorable in order to get a uniform cut of a high quality.
/49/

Figure 20. Effects of polarization in cutting /49/
Beam polarization is of concern for CO2 laser cutting since the light from a CO2 laser is
linearly polarized but light from Nd:YAG lasers is randomly polarized and so cutting
performance is not affected by direction. A phase-shift mirror is used in cutting machines
with CO2 lasers to change light with linear polarization into circular polarization. /45,49/
7.2 Process parameters
The process parameters include those characteristics of the laser cutting process that can be
altered in order to improve the quality of the cutting process and achieve the required
cutting results. However, some process parameters are normally not altered by the operator.
33
7.2.1 Continuous wave (cw) or pulsed (p) laser power
High intensity can be achieved in both pulsed and continuous beams. The peak pulse power
in pulsed cutting or the average power in continuous cutting determines the penetration. A
high power CW laser beam is preferred for smooth, high cutting rate applications
particularly with thicker sections because the highest cutting speeds can be obtained with
high average power levels. However, the removal of molten or vaporized material is not
efficient enough to prevent some of the heat in the molten/vaporized material from being
transferred to the kerf walls causing heating of the workpiece and deterioration of the cut
quality. A lower energy pulsed beam is preferred for precision cutting of fine components
producing better cuts than a high power CW laser because the high peak power in the short
pulses ensures efficient heating while the low average power results in a slow process with
an effective removal of hot material from the kerf reducing dross formation. A pulsed beam
of high peak power is also advantageous when processing materials with a high thermal
conductivity and when cutting narrow geometries in complex sections where overheating is
a problem. /45,49/
The striations formed during pulsed cutting are finer than those formed during continuous
wave cutting (see figure 21). Additionally, cutting at sharp corners is better achieved with
pulsed cutting than continuous wave cutting as illustrated in figure 22. /25,49/
34

Figure 21. A comparison of (a) continuous wave laser cutting and (b) pulsed laser cutting
/25/

Figure 22. Effect of pulsing at a sharp corner /49/
35
7.2.2 Focal length of the lens
Solid-state lasers usually utilize fiber optics for beam delivery and a collimator is used to
form the divergent laser beam emitting from the light cable into a parallel laser beam. After
the laser beam has passed the laser light cable and the collimator, the focusing lens then
focuses the parallel laser beam onto the workpiece. CO2 lasers do not utilize fiber optics for
beam delivery; therefore, the beam emitted by the laser is directly focused onto the
workpiece using a focusing lens. The laser cutting process requires focusing a high-power
laser beam to a small spot that has sufficient power density to produce a cut through the
material. The focal length of the focusing lens determines the focused spot size and also the
depth of focus which is the effective distance over which satisfactory cutting can be
achieved. /45,49/
The focusability of laser beams is illustrated in figure 23 in which is the depth of focus
(Rayleigh length) and equation 4 shows the parameters that determine the focused spot size
2 ⋅ z
( ) d f . It indicates that a small spot diameter is favored by a short focal length ( , good
beam quality having K-value close to 1 (
f )
K M 2 = 1
( )
), large raw beam diameter at the lens
(D) and short wavelength of the laser beam λ . The depth of focus is also dependent on
the same parameters as the focused spot diameter; generally a small spot size is associated
with a short depth of focus. /49/
………………………………………………………(4) 4 1 4 2 M
D
f
D K
f d f = ⋅ ⋅ = ⋅ ⋅ π
λ
π
λ

Figure 23. Focusability of laser beams /49/
36
For cutting of thin materials (less than 4mm in thickness), a short focal length – typically
63mm – gives a narrow kerf and smooth edge because of the small spot size. A longer focal
length is preferred for thick section cutting where the depth of focus should be around half
the plate thickness. /45/ The use of long focal length lenses enlarges the working distance,
minimizes the contamination of the lens and increases the depth of focus. A high quality
laser beam would enable the use of longer focusing optics without compromising on the
focused spot size. The critical factors that determine the selection of the lens for a cutting
application are the focused spot diameter and the depth of focus so the focal length has to
be optimized with respect to the material thickness to be cut. /27,49/
7.2.3 Focal position relative to the material surface
The focal position has to be controlled in order to ensure optimum cutting performance.
Differences in material thickness may also require focus alterations and variations in laser
beam shape. /49/
When cutting with oxygen, the maximum cutting speed is achieved when the focal plane of
the beam is positioned at the plate surface for thin sheets or about one third of the plate
thickness below the surface for thick plates. However, the optimum position is closer to the
lower surface of the plate when using an inert gas because a wider kerf is produced that
allows a larger part of the gas flow to penetrate the kerf and eject molten material. Larger
nozzle diameters are used in inert gas cutting. If the focal plane is positioned too high
relative to the workpiece surface or too far below the surface, the kerf width and recast
layer thickness increase to a point at which the power density falls below that required for
cutting. /45/
37
7.2.4 Cutting speed
The energy balance for the laser cutting process is such that the energy supplied to the
cutting zone is divided into two parts namely; energy used in generating a cut and the
energy losses from the cut zone. It is shown that the energy used in cutting is independent
of the time taken to carry out the cut but the energy losses from the cut zone are proportion
to the time taken. Therefore, the energy lost from the cut zone decreases with increasing
cutting speed resulting into an increase in the efficiency of the cutting process. A reduction
in cutting speed when cutting thicker materials leads to an increase in the wasted energy
and the process becomes less efficient. The levels of conductive loss, which is the most
substantial thermal loss from the cut zone for most metals, rise rapidly with increasing
material thickness coupled with the reduction in cutting speed. /56/
The cutting speed must be balanced with the gas flow rate and the power. As cutting speed
increases, striations on the cut edge become more prominent, dross is more likely to remain
on the underside and penetration is lost. When oxygen is applied in mild steel cutting, too
low cutting speed results in excessive burning of the cut edge, which degrades the edge
quality and increases the width of the heat affected zone (HAZ). In general, the cutting
speed for a material is inversely proportional to its thickness. The speed must be reduced
when cutting sharp corners with a corresponding reduction in beam power to avoid burning.
/45/
7.2.5 Process gas and gas pressure
The process gas has five principle functions during laser cutting. An inert gas such as
nitrogen expels molten material without allowing drops to solidify on the underside (dross)
while an active gas such as oxygen participates in an exothermic reaction with the material.
The gas also acts to suppress the formation of plasma when cutting thick sections with high
beam intensities and focusing optics are protected from spatter by the gas flow. The cut
edge is cooled by the gas flow thus restricting the width of the HAZ. /45/
38
The choice of process gas has a significant effect on the productivity and quality of the
laser cutting process. The commonly used gases are oxygen (active gas) and nitrogen (inert
gas) with each having its own advantages and potential disadvantages. Although nitrogen is
not purely inert, it is the most commonly used gas for inert gas cutting because it is
relatively cheap. Purely inert gases, argon and helium, are common choices when cutting
titanium since they prevent the formation of oxides or brittle titanium nitrides. /1,11,45/

Nitrogen gas is the preferred gas for the cutting of stainless steel, high-alloyed steels,
aluminium and nickel alloys and it requires higher gas pressures to remove the molten
material from the cut kerf. The high gas pressure provides an extra mechanical force to
blow out the molten material from the cut kerf. When high-pressure nitrogen cutting is used
to cut stainless steel, it produces a bright, oxide free cut edge but the processing speeds are
lower than in oxygen assisted cutting. The main problem associated with the inert gas
cutting is the formation of burrs of resolidified material on the underside of the kerf. Burrfree
cutting conditions are achieved by optimization of the principle processing parameters;
nozzle diameter, focal position and gas pressure. The nitrogen pressure lies in the range of
10-20 bar and the pressure requirement increases with increasing material thickness.
Nitrogen gas purity should be above 99.8%. /1,9,11,45,49/
Oxygen is normally used for cutting of mild steel and low-alloyed steels. Use of oxygen
causes an exothermic reaction, which contributes to the cutting energy resulting into high
cutting speeds and the ability to cut thick sections up to 12mm. However, oxygen cutting
leads to oxidized cut edges and requires careful control of process parameters to minimize
dross adherence and edge roughness. The oxygen gas nozzle pressure usually lies in the
range of 0.5-5 bar. The oxygen pressure is reduced as plate thickness is increased to avoid
burning effects and the nozzle diameter is increased. High gas purity is important – mild
steel of 1mm thickness can be cut up to 30% more quickly using 99.9% or 99.99% purity
oxygen in comparison with the standard oxygen purity of 99.7%. /1,9,11,45,49/
Figure 24 shows the typical cutting speeds for high pressure nitrogen cutting of stainless
steel and oxygen assisted cutting of mild steel with 2 kW CO2 laser. The cutting speeds and
39
maximum material thickness cut are relatively higher for the oxygen assisted cutting than
for high pressure nitrogen cutting. /49/

Figure 24. Cutting speed for a 2kW CO2 laser. Oxygen is used as cutting gas for mild steel.
High pressure nitrogen (20 bar) is used for stainless steel /49/
7.2.6 Nozzle diameter and standoff distance
The nozzle delivers the cutting gas to the cutting front ensuring that the gas is coaxial with
the laser beam and stabilizes the pressure on the workpiece surface to minimize turbulence
in the melt pool. The nozzle design, particularly the design of the orifice, determines the
shape of the cutting gas jet and hence the quality of the cut. The diameter of the nozzle,
which ranges from 0.8 mm and 3 mm, is selected according to the material and plate
thickness. /45/ Due to the small size of the focused laser beam, the cut kerf created during
laser cutting is often smaller than the diameter of the nozzle. Consequently, only a portion
of the gas jet formed by the nozzle penetrates the kerf, which necessitates the use of a high
40
gas pressure. /49/ Off-axis nozzles have also been used in mirror focusing applications but
the cutting pressure is limited to 200Kpa. /57/
The stand-off distance is the distance between the nozzle and the workpiece. This distance
influences the flow patterns in the gas, which have a direct bearing on the cutting
performance and cut quality. Large variations in pressure can occur if the stand-off distance
is greater than about 1mm. A stand-off distance smaller than the nozzle diameter is
recommended because larger standoff distances result in turbulence and large pressure
changes in the gap between the nozzle and workpiece. With a short standoff distance, the
kerf acts as a nozzle and the nozzle geometry is not so critical. Figure 25 shows the nozzle
geometry definitions. /45,49/

 

Figure 25. Nozzle geometry – definitions /49/
Kai Chen et al examined the effects of processing parameters such as gas pressure and
nozzle standoff distance on cut quality. Their numerical simulations and laser cutting
experiments revealed that the fluctuation of pressure gradient and shear force at the
machining front has detrimental effects on the removal capability of the gas jet, which often
results in poorer cut quality. /58/
The structure of shocks present in supersonic flow from laser cutting nozzles results in a
reduction of the stagnation pressure accross the shock. The interaction of the shocks with a
workpiece result in a cutting pressure that shows large variations as a function of nozzle
41
standoff distance. For higher nozzle pressures, the cutting perfomance is impaired by the
formation of a strong normal shock (the Mach Shock disk, MSD). The flow downstream of
the MSD is subsonic having suffered a large drop in stagnation pressure and results in a
low laser cutting pressure. Besides causing a significant reduction in the cutting pressure,
the MSD also encourages the formation of a stable stagnation bubble on the surface of the
workpiece. The stagnation bubble could result in ineffective debris removal and plasma
formation due to absorbtion of laser radiation by trapped debris. /57/
7.2.7 Nozzle Alignment
Nozzle misalignment may cause poor cutting quality, as the process is extremely
susceptible to any discrepancy in the alignment of the cutting gas jet with the laser beam.
The gas flow from the nozzle generates a pressure gradient on the material surface, which is
coaxial with the nozzle itself. If the nozzle and the focused laser beam are coaxial, the
cutting zone established by the beam will lie directly under the central core of the gas jet
and there will be uniform lateral gas flow. Figure 26 (a) illustrates the equilibrium set up if
the gas jet and laser beam are coaxial. However, nozzle-laser beam misalignment (see
figure 26 (b)) leads to an overall directional gas flow across the top of the cut zone which
can lead to unwanted cut edge burning and dross adhesion. /25,45/
42

 

Figure 26. (a) The equilibrium set up when the gas jet and laser beam are coaxial
(b) Nozzle-laser beam misalignment. /25/
However, previous studies have shown that an off-axis nozzle arrangement has some
considerable advantages over the coaxial nozzle-laser beam arrangement. When coaxial gas
nozzles are applied, the nozzle diameter is considerably larger than the cut kerf therefore
the pressure losses in the kerf are larger than those in the nozzle. Since the preferable
nozzle standoff distance should be in the range of 0.3mm or more, most of the gas flows
out in between the nozzle and the workpiece and expands uniformly in all directions. The
radial velocity of the gas is zero in the centerline of symmetry and then increases as the gas
is expanding. The radial flow affects the gas flow down into the kerf so that the flow down
into the kerf is largest if the laser beam is in front of the centerline of the nozzle and
smallest if the laser beam is behind the centerline. Therefore, a nozzle arrangement where
the laser beam is in front of the centerline of a coaxial nozzle is more efficient than a
normal coaxial nozzle-laser beam alignment. It has been shown that the cutting range
wherein good cut qualities can be obtained is expanded by utilizing off-axis beam
43
arrangement compared to co-axial laser beam and gas jet. Additionally, the gas
consumption is lower for off-axis cutting than for on-axis cutting. /59/
7.3 Material properties
The laser is used to cut a wide range of engineering materials, which include metals such as
mild steel, titanium and stainless steel, as well as nonmetallic materials like ceramics, glass,
wood, paper and plastics. Cutting of metals requires higher power densities to melt the
material but lower power densities are required for cutting of non-metals. /9/ The focused
laser radiation that strikes the metal surface is partly absorbed and partly reflected by the
metal surface. The fraction of the incident laser power absorbed, determined by the
reflectivity of the metal surface, varies as the material heats up partly due to the
temperature dependence of the optical properties of the material and partly due to the
changes in the surface appearance, metallurgical phase and interaction of the incident light
with ejected particulate and gaseous material near the surface. The thermal and physical
properties of the material are important in choosing the right laser-material combination as
well as the process parameters. /47,49/
7.3.1 Thermal properties
The efficiency of laser cutting depends on efficient energy coupling into the material;
therefore, the thermal characteristics of the material play a vital role in determining both the
ability of the laser to cut and the quality of the cutting process. /11/
The high reflectivity of some metals to infrared laser light can lead to difficulties with
initiation and maintenance of the cutting process. During cutting of metals with high
thermal conductivity, the heat is transported rapidly from the cutting front therefore high
power levels or low cutting speeds are required to maintain a cutting front. However,
reducing cutting speed causes instabilities that can result in abnormal molten regions,
blowouts and poor edge quality. Greater amount of energy is required for cutting of
44
materials with high values of specific heat capacity and those materials with high latent
heats of melting and vaporization. /45/

7.3.2 Physical properties
The surface conditions such as presence of grease or paint may interfere with the cutting
process resulting in unpredictable performance. Changes in scale thickness or the presence
of rolled-in defects and grooves are detrimental to edge quality. However, the presence of a
thin, uniform oxide layer can facilitate absorption of the laser beam and improve cutting
performance. /45/
Molten materials with high values of surface tension and low viscosity are more difficult to
remove from the cutting front by the assist gas resulting into adherent dross on the
underside of the cut. The plate thickness determines the relationship between the rate at
which cutting can be performed and the incident beam power for a given set of processing
parameters. /45/

8. LASER CUTTING OF STAINLESS STEEL
Laser inert gas cutting is the most applicable process type used for cutting of stainless steel.
Laser oxygen cutting is also applied in cases where the cut face oxidation is not a critical
matter. Laser cutting of stainless steel with inert gas (nitrogen) and active gas (oxygen) as
assisting gases are discussed. The workplace safety concerns for both processes are also
discussed.
8.1 Laser inert gas cutting of stainless steel
During the laser inert gas cutting process (also called laser fusion cutting), the laser beam is
the only heat source and the high-pressure inert gas jet provides the mechanical force for
45
melt ejection. Stainless steels have relatively low thermal conductivity, which enables them
to be cut at relatively high rates since energy remains at the cutting front rather than being
dissipated into the material ahead of the cutting front. The nickel present in austenitic
grades of stainless steel affects energy coupling and heat transfer limiting the thickness that
can be cut with a given laser beam power. /45/
Nitrogen is the most commonly used assist gas for this cutting technique because of its low
chemical activity and its cheapness compared with truly inert gases such as argon. Cutting
with nitrogen produces cut edges of a high quality but the cutting speed is usually lower
than when cutting with oxygen. Dross adhesion to the bottom edge of the material due to
the high viscosity of the molten material may be a problem in nitrogen cutting but it is
generally addressed by using very high assist gas pressures. A high pressure nitrogen gas
jet is used when cut edge quality is of greater importance than cutting speed. Figure 27 is a
schematic of the cut zone when laser cutting stainless steel, there is adherent dross on the
bottom edge of the sheet. /25,45,56,60/

Figure 27. A schematic of the cut zone when laser cutting stainless steel. /25/
46
Figure 28 shows a typical good quality cut edge produced by high pressure inert gas cutting
of 5mm thick stainless steel using a CO2 laser with the employed gas pressure of 14 bar,
cutting speed of 1.1 m/min and a laser power of 1.4 kW. /25/

 

Figure 28. The stainless steel cut edge produced by high-pressure nitrogen cutting. /25/
A comparison of maximum cutting speeds for nitrogen assisted laser cutting of stainless
steel (AISI 304) with the CO2 laser and fiber laser are shown in figure 29. Higher cutting
speeds are achieved with the fiber laser. /61/

0
10
20
30
40
50
60
0 2 4 6 8
Thickness [mm]
Max. cutting speed [m/min]
10
YLR 4000 fiber laser (4000 W)
YLR 1000 fiber laser (1000 W)
DC030 CO2 laser (3000 W)
Figure 29. Comparison of maximum cutting speeds with different lasers (The material is
stainless steel AISI 304, Nitrogen assisted laser cutting) /61/
47
8.2 Laser oxygen cutting of stainless steel
During oxygen assisted cutting of stainless steel, chromium that has the greatest affinity for
oxygen of all the alloying elements present is oxidized preferentially readily forming oxides
with a high melting temperature. These oxides do not dissolve in the molten material but
form a seal that limits the exothermic reaction in the upper part of the cutting front. The
high surface tension of the oxide leads to dross formation and a rough cut surface. The
residual oxide layers left on the cut edge have a higher chromium content than the base
material and the solidified melt underlying the oxidized edge has a depleted chromium
level. Other alloying elements can also create problems when they react with active gases.
/25,45/ Figure 30 shows a schematic of the changes in chemistry across the cross section of
the stainless steel cut edge and the typical cut quality obtained is shown in figure 31.

 

Figure 30. A schematic of the changes in chemistry across the cross section of stainless
steel cut edge. /25/
48

Figure 31. A typical example of a stainless steel cut edge (4 mm thick) produced by
oxygen cutting. /25/
The oxidation of stainless steel during cutting is more complex than the mild steel case
because the reaction involves the formation of three oxides (Fe2O3, Cr2O3 and NiO) rather
than two (FeO and Fe2O3) in mild steel cutting. The formation of the three oxides generates
more heat than the simple oxidation of iron to FeO. Therefore, this cutting process is
characterized by higher cutting speeds than in fusion cutting. The cutting speed decreases
greatly with increase in material thickness and higher laser powers are required to cut
thicker materials (see figure 32). /25,56/

Figure 32. Typical cutting speeds for oxygen-assisted cutting of stainless steels with CO2
laser. /25/
49
While chromium oxide in small concentrations protects the base material, the chromium
oxides formed under laser cutting with even small concentrations of oxygen usually cause
corrosion. Therefore, any oxidation of the cut surface must be avoided in order to preserve
the corrosion resistance. /62/ Cutting of stainless steel with inert gas is often favored
because it avoids the dross problem caused by the formation of high melting point oxides of
chromium when stainless steel is cut with oxygen gas. /63/
8.3 Workplace safety during laser cutting of stainless steel
Although, the gases used for laser cutting stainless steel are not toxic, they can be
potentially hazardous and the hazards associated with these gases include fume, gas
properties and pressure. Precautions must be taken to avoid inhalation of chromium vapour
that is generated when cutting stainless steels. /1,45/
The increasing focus on workplace safety has led to assessment of the hazards associated
with fume generation from the laser cutting process. Fume extraction is a requirement of
laser cutting and most systems are equipped with integral fume extraction systems. The
cutting of stainless steel provides an example of how the choice of assist gas can affect the
levels of fume generation. An analysis of cutting fume was carried out by Gabzdyl to
determine fume formation rates, chemical composition of the fume and the particle size
distribution. The results showed that the amount of fume generated by oxygen cutting was
100 times greater than that produced by nitrogen cutting. The particle size and distribution
of the oxygen generated fume was smaller, predominantly in the less than 6µm range, a size
that is considered to be the most problematical hygienically while the particle size of the
fume generated by nitrogen assisted cutting was found to be significantly larger. The
chemical analysis of the fume generated by both processes showed that the percentage of
chromium (VI), a known carcinogen, in the fume was lower when cutting with nitrogen. /1/
There is a danger to human life if ambient oxygen concentrations fall below 18% while
conditions of oxygen enrichment make many materials susceptible to combustion.
Operation of the high pressure nitrogen cutting in a confined area causes a risk of oxygen
50
depletion therefore good ventilation around the laser cutting area is essential as even
oxygen and nitrogen can be potentially hazardous. Nitrogen cutting that usually utilizes
high pressure requires pipelines and equipment that are suitable for the pressure. /1/
9. CHARACTERISTIC PROPERTIES OF THE LASER CUT
The cut quality is determined by the amount of material removed and the material affected
by the cutting process. The characteristic properties of the laser cut that are used to describe
the cut quality include the kerf width, perpendicularity of the cut edges, surface roughness,
dross attachment and size of heat-affected zone (HAZ). The process parameters influence
the efficiency of the laser cutting process and the quality of the cut edge obtained.
/2,11,34,64/
The cutting standard EN ISO 9013: 2002 gives tolerances for the perpendicularity of the cut
edges and surface roughness. The evaluation and consequences of the imperfections
depends on the specific job requirements. /15/ Figure 33 is an illustration of the
characteristic properties of the laser cut surface in which dross, cut roughness and heat
affected zone (HAZ) are shown.

51

Figure 33. Laser cut surface characteristics /39/

9.1 Kerf width
The kerf width refers to the width of the slot that is formed during through-thickness
cutting and is normally narrower at the bottom surface of the workpiece than at the top
surface. The kerf width represents the amount of material removed during the cutting
process, which is essentially wasted material; therefore, a smaller kerf width is always
desirable especially when small details are to be cut. The width of the cut kerf corresponds
to the circular beam waist size which is determined mainly by the laser beam quality and
focusing optics. The power at the focused spot, cutting speed and the assist gas jet also have
influence on the size of the cut kerf. /2,11,34,45,56/
Yilbas examined the effects of laser output power, cutting speed and energy coupling factor
at the workpiece surface on the resulting kerf size. Figure 34 shows the variation of kerf
width with cutting speed, laser output power and energy coupling factor. Increases in laser
power, energy coupling factor and reduction in cutting speed were found to result in
increased kerf width. /65,66/
52

 

Figure 34. (a) Variation of the kerf width with cutting speed
(b) Variation of the kerf width with laser output power
(c) Variation of kerf width with energy coupling factor /65,66/

53
9.2 Perpendicularity or angularity of the cut edges
The perpendicularity or squareness and inclination tolerance, u, is the greatest
perpendicular distance between the actual surface and the intended surface as illustrated in
figure 35. It is the sum of the angular deviation and the concavity or convexity of the
surface. Quality classes are defined for thermal cutting techniques in which the
perpendicularity and angularity are expressed in terms of the material thickness, a. /15,45/

Figure 35. Perpendicularity tolerance of a straight laser cut /15/
9.3 Surface roughness
Surface roughness is the unevenness or irregularity of the surface profile and is measured as
the mean height of the profile, Rz, or as an integral of the absolute value of the roughness
profile, Ra. The mean height of the profile, Rz, is used in quality classification. The length
of measurement is 15mm, which is divided into five partial measuring lengths. The distance
between the highest peak and the lowest trough is determined for each partial measuring
length and Rz, measured in micrometers, is the average of the five distances. Figure 36 is an
illustration of single profile elements of five bordering single measured distances from
which the average roughness of the profile can be obtained. /15,45/
54

Figure 36. Mean height of the profile /15/
The cut surface is roughened by natural striations that result from the non-steady nature of
laser cutting. Yilbas /34/ investigated the mechanism that initiates the striation and
concluded that sideways burning, liquid layer oscillation at the surface and variation in the
absorbed power due to surface plasma are the main reasons for the striations. /47/
Fluctuations in the melt thickness and temperature gradients cause oscillations in the melt
front propagation, which can result in formation of striations. These melt oscillations can
cause course striations in the lower region of the kerf but are not the reason for striation
formation in the top of the kerf because this type of striations require a relative large melt
thickness compared to the melt thickness in the upper region of the kerf. /67/
In laser oxygen cutting, the interaction between the material and the incident energy
behaves in a cyclic manner, shown in figure 37, generating a pulsed-type cut edge covered
in regular striations even though the energy input to the cutting zone is constant. /25,56/
55

Figure 37. Striation formation /25,68/
During laser oxygen cutting of mild steel, the ignition phase occurs when a focused high
power laser beam in conjunction with the co-axial oxygen jet cause the mild steel sheet to
exothermically oxidize when high power laser beam touches the cutting front. The highly
energetic burning front moves rapidly away from the center of the laser beam and once the
laser beam has been left behind, the burning front cools and extinguishes. The moving laser
then initiates the re-ignition of the next area and the process continues thus generating a
pattern of striations along the cut edge. One cycle of the reaction was found to be just the
same as a space of the striation. At cutting speeds faster than oxidation rate, the front face
cannot move ahead of the laser beam so that the front face and the laser beam move at the
same speed. /25,56,69/ In slow cutting, the ignition temperature is reached and then burning
occurs proceeding outwards in all directions from the ignition point causing course
56
striations on the cut edge. The distance between striations increases with increasing cutting
speed. The general rule is that the faster the cut, the less heat penetration and the better the
cut quality. /68/ The laser cut surfaces show two different striation patterns, one with a finer
structure adjacent to the upper surface and one with a coarser pattern adjacent to the lower
surface of the workpiece. /70/
In inert gas cutting where no exothermic oxidation reaction occurs, the striations are
associated with the inefficient removal of the molten material. The cut surface quality in
nitrogen cutting is improved by use of higher gas pressures compared to the gas pressures
used in oxygen cutting. /71/
9.4 Dross attachment and burrs
A burr is the highly adherent dross (solidified material) or slag (solidified oxides) that
forms on the underside of the cut. Molten materials with high values of surface tension and
low viscosity are more difficult to remove from the cutting front by the assist gas and can
result into adherent dross on the underside. The oxide generated during cutting of stainless
steel is made up of high melting point components such as Cr2O3 (melting point
approximately 2180ο
C) and hence this freezes quicker causing a dross problem. Dross can
be removed during processing by use of a gas jet directed from the underside of the
workpiece. Alternatively, it can be removed mechanically after cutting. /45,68/
9.5 Heat Affected zone (HAZ) width
The thermal heat of laser cutting produces a heat affected zone (HAZ) next to the cut edge.
The heat affected zone is the part of the material whose metallurgical structure is affected
by heat but is not melted. Microstructural variation in the heat-affected-zone is one of the
characteristics that determine the quality of the laser cut. /34,72/ The HAZ width increases
as the energy input per unit length and cut thickness increase. HAZ width is important
when cuts are to be made near heat-sensitive components. /45/ Figure 38 shows the several
57
physical mechanisms including conduction, phase change, plasma formation, surface
absorption and molten-layer flow, which affect the efficiency of laser cutting. /73/

Figure 38. The main effects during laser cutting /73/
The formation of the heat-affected zone (HAZ) during cutting of austenitic stainless steel is
considered to be negligible because the material is not hardenable by heat treatment.
However, the heat conduction into the workpiece influences bulk phenomena such as grain
refinement, carbide formation and other sulfide and phosphide impurities that might exist
due to the alloying elements resulting into the formation of a detectable HAZ. /73/
58
EXPERIMENTAL PART
10. PURPOSE OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY
The purpose of the experiment was to analyze the cutting performance and cut quality of
the disk laser, fiber laser and CO2 laser by investigating the effects of a given set of
parameters of the laser cutting process. The parameters investigated included: material
thickness, cutting speed and focus position.
The high beam quality of the disk laser and fiber laser is expected to enhance cutting speeds
and produce a better quality cut kerf that is characterized by a smaller kerf width and
perpendicular cut edges with low surface roughness.
11. EXPERIMENTAL EQUIPMENT AND TEST PROCEDURES
Three sets of experiments were done with three different laser types, namely disk laser,
fiber laser and CO2 laser. Because of the numerous parameters that affect the laser cutting
process, a procedure of trial and error was used to choose a range of parameters that could
produce a reasonable cut at the highest cutting speeds possible for each laser type and the
different material thickness considered.
11.1 Test material
The test material used in the cutting experiments was austenitic stainless steel (AISI 304
and AISI 316), which was available in the form of sheets. Austenitic grades are the most
commonly used stainless steels accounting for more than 70% of production with type 304
being the most commonly specified grade by far. The test material thickness used for the
cutting experiments using the disk, fiber and CO2 cutting lasers are given in table 3.
59
Table 3. The test material thickness used
Measured test material thickness
(mm)
Thickness
rounded to
Test material nearest mm
Disk laser Fiber laser CO2 laser Disk/Fiber/CO2
lasers
AISI 304 1.30 1.30 1.30 1
AISI 316 for Disk and fiber
AISI 304 for CO2
2.30 2.30 1.85 2
AISI 304 4.30 4.30 4.40 4
AISI 304 6.20 6.20 6.40 6

11.2 Disk laser experiments
A Trumpf disk laser, model HLD 4002, shown in figure 39, was used for the disk laser
cutting experiments. This system has a beam quality of 8 mm.mrad with a maximum laser
power output of 4 kW at the workpiece and utilizes an optic fiber with core diameter of 200
µm for beam delivery.

Figure 39. The Trumpf disk laser HLD 4002
The variables in the cutting experiments included material thickness, cutting speed and the
focus position. The pressure of the nitrogen gas, employed as the assist gas, was varied
60
from 6 bar to 30 bar depending on the material thickness so as to ensure effective ejection
of the molten material during the cutting process.
An optimum cutting speed was specified for each material thickness with a 4 kW power
level after some preliminary experiments with power levels, which included 1 kW, 2 kW, 3
kW and 4 kW. The 4 kW power level was chosen for all the subsequent tests with a specific
cutting procedure in which linear cut slots, 100mm long, were made. The cutting speed was
varied by 5% and 10% above and below the normal operating level as recommended by the
machine manufacturer as illustrated in figure 40. The cuts were kept at sufficient distance
apart from each other and from the workpiece edges in order to avoid interference. In
another cutting condition, the focus position was varied with steps of -6mm, -3mm, 0,
+3mm and +6mm from the workpiece surface for material thickness of 1.3mm and 2.3mm.
The details of the cutting parameters are contained in appendix 1.

Figure 40. Schematic diagram of the test procedures
61
11.3 Fiber laser experiments
A 2D-laser cutting machine with linear drives (Arnold GmbH & Co. KG) with a 4 kW-fiber
laser IPG 4000W (IPG Laser GmbH, Burbach) available at FhG-IWS Dresden for R&D
work was used for the fiber laser cutting experiments in this thesis. This machine is of the
gantry type and the z-axis is equipped with the cutting head with an integrated capacitive
distance control by Precitec. The control is activated as soon as the distance between the
cutting head and work gets lower than 5 or 10 mm (optionally). The whole machine
including laser is CNC-controlled by the Sinumerik 840D software by Siemens, version
5.3. The mechanical part of the laser-cutting machine together with the beam delivery
system is shown in figure 41. The maximum acceleration of this machine is 42m/s
2
for the
x- and y-axes and the maximum velocity along the axes is 280m/min. The high acceleration
is essential for accurate contour cuts with a high cutting rate.

Figure 41. Cutting machine with linear drives Type 1FN3 by Arnold
The laser source was a fiber laser, YLR 4000W (IPG Laser GmbH, Burbach) shown in
figure 42 (a), with a maximum laser power output of 4000 W and a beam quality of
62
2.5mm.mrad. A light conducting cable with a fiber diameter of 50 µm carries out the
transfer of the laser beam to the cutting optics.
A HP 1,5” cutting head (figure 42(b)) with a collimation of focal length 50mm and a
focusing lens of focal lengths 5” (127mm) and 7,5” (190.5mm) was used for the cutting
tests. Thus, for a fiber diameter of 50 µm, the imaging ratio was 1:2,54 for 5” focal length
and a theoretical focus diameter of 127 µm. For the 7,5” focal length, the imaging ratio was
1:3,8 and consequently a theoretical focus diameter of 190,5 µm.

(a) (b)
Figure 42. (a) Fiber laser YLR 4000W (IPG Laser GmbH, Burbach)
(b) Cutting head HP 1,5”
Five identical linear cuts of 150mm length were made for each cutting condition. The cuts
were kept at sufficient distance from each other and from the workpiece edges in order to
avoid interference.
63
Focal lengths of 5” (127mm) and 7,5” (190.5mm) were used with nitrogen as cutting gas.
The cutting parameters were optimized in order to achieve the best cut quality at the highest
cutting speeds. The influence of process parameters such as laser power, cutting velocity,
focus position, nozzle distance, and cutting gas pressure and nozzle diameter was
investigated (see appendix 2).
The procedure of optimization was demonstrated with the cutting of 1.3mm sheet thickness.
The validation was started at a feed rate of 10 m/min for the focal length of 5” (127mm)
and the parameters were varied in such a way that the feed rate could be increased step-bystep
with the result that the cutting could be done in a process safe way. This was
successful for a sheet thickness of 1.3mm at a laser power of 4000 W and with a cutting
velocity of up to 55 m/min (12 bar cutting gas pressure and a nozzle of 2.0 mm).
11.4 CO2 laser experiments
A CO2 laser machining center with a maximum output power of 6000 W, shown in figure
43, was used to conduct the CO2 laser cutting experiments.

Figure 43. The CO2 laser-machining center (Trumatic L6050)
The cutting experiments were performed with the laser power of 4000 W and sheet
thickness of 1.3mm, 1.85mm, 4.4mm and 6.4mm with nitrogen as the assist gas. Some
64
preliminary tests were conducted while adjusting the process parameters namely gas
pressure, nozzle diameter, nozzle standoff distance and focal length so as to determine the
maximum cutting speeds for each sheet thickness.
The cutting tests were then performed with the maximum cutting speeds for each sheet
thickness and linear cuts of 100mm length were made. Five cut slots were made as the
cutting speed was varied by 5% and 10% above and below the already specified maximum
cutting speed, as provided by the machine manufacturer (see figure 40). The CO2 laser
cutting parameters are given in appendix 3.
12. MEASUREMENTS
In this thesis, the laser cut quality was monitored by measuring the kerf width,
perpendicularity of the cut edges and the surface roughness. The width of the heat-affected
zone (HAZ) was not measured because the test material was austenitic stainless steel,
which does not show a considerable microstructural phase transformation during heat
treatment and is therefore considered non hardenable by heat treatment.
12.1 Kerf width measurement
Digital imaging of the cut kerfs was done using a Leica M25 microscope and a Canon S40
digital camera. The Canon S40 digital camera was used to take these photographs through
the Leica M25 microscope whose eyepiece was connected to the lens of the digital camera.
The illumination and magnification were varied for each material thickness so as to get
clear photographs of the top and bottom cut kerfs at the start and end points of each cut slot.
The kerf width measurements were then made from the cut kerf photographs using the
UTHSCSA ImageTool Version 3.0 program. The UTHSCSA ImageTool program is a free
image processing and analysis program developed at the University of Texas Health
Science Center at San Antonio, Texas and is available from the Internet from the address
65
http://ddsdx.uthscsa.edu/dig/itdesc.html. The kerf width measurements were taken at four
positions A, B, C and D, as shown in figure 44 below and the average value of these
measurements was recorded as the kerf width of this cut. The kerf width varied over the
length of the cut and measurements were taken at the leading (end of cut) and trailing (start
of cut) positions on the cut. Both the top and bottom surfaces kerf width were measured.

Figure 44. Kerf width measurement positions A, B, C and D
12.2 Perpendicularity measurement
After the kerf width measurements were done, the workpiece was cut through to reveal the
cut cross-section showing the kerf width variation from top to bottom of the cut. The cut
cross-section surface was ground and polished and digital photographs of the cut crosssection
were made. The various shapes of the cut kerfs observed are shown in figure 45.
66

Figure 45. The variation of the cut kerf width from top to bottom of the cut
The greatest perpendicular distance between the actual surface and the intended surface of
the cut edge was measured on both cut edges of each cut kerf using the AutoCAD 2002
program as illustrated in figure 46. The measured perpendicularity deviation of the cut
edges was then used to classify the cut edges according to the EN ISO 9013:2002 standard
for thermal cuts.
67

Figure 46. The cut cross-section showing the kerf width variation from top to bottom
12.3 Surface roughness measurement
After the kerf width and perpendicularity measurements, the cut surfaces were then
separated so as to measure the surface roughness. The surface roughness was measured in
terms of the integral of the absolute value of the roughness profile, Ra and the mean height
of the profile, RZ, using a Mitutoyo 201 stylus profile meter.
The surface roughness was measured randomly on different positions of the cut surfaces
and the measuring points were located where the maximum measured values were expected
on the cut thickness. The number and location of the measuring points depended on the
shape and size of the workpiece. The sampling length for each measurement was 7.5 mm.
For the 1.3mm, 1.85mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness, the roughness measurement was taken
at the middle of the cut thickness and the roughness measurements for the 4.3mm, 4.4mm,
6.2mm and 6.4mm sheet thickness were taken at two positions along the cut thickness –
one measurement position at the upper part and the other at the lower part of the cut
thickness – as shown in figure 47. For the 6.2mm sheet thickness fiber laser cut surface, a
third roughness measurement position was taken at the middle of the cut thickness, as three
different regions of surface roughness were visible with the highest roughness being at the
middle of the cut thickness.
68
Figure 47. Surface roughness of the disk laser cut surfaces showing both the Ra and Rz
values (Laser power 4000 W)
13. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
The maximum cutting speeds and measured values of the kerf width, cut edge
perpendicularity and surface roughness (Ra and Rz) are presented.
13.1 Maximum cutting speeds
The maximum cutting speeds at the 4 kW power level for the disk, fiber and CO2 lasers are
shown in figure 48. The cutting speeds were higher for the fiber and disk lasers at smaller
69
sheet thickness (thickness less 3mm) than for the CO2 laser but the cutting speeds were
lower when thicker sheets (thickness greater than 4mm) were cut. However, there was still
a considerable percentage increase in cutting speeds of the fiber and disk lasers for the
sheet thickness greater than 4mm compared to the cutting speeds of the CO2 laser for the
same sheet thickness. The enormous cutting speeds for the fiber and disk lasers can be
attributed to their better beam quality.

Laser power 4000 W
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Material thickness, mm
Maximum cutting speed, m/min
Fiber laser, Focal length 127mm (1.3mm and
2.3mm thickness) and 190,5mm (4.3mm and
6.2mm thickness)
Disk laser, Focal length 200mm (1.3mm and
2.3mm thickness) and 400mm (4.3mm and
6.2mm thickness)
CO2 laser, Focal length 190,5mm (1.3mm,
1.85mm and 4.4mm thickness) and 254mm
(6.4mm thickness)
Figure 48. Maximum cutting speeds for the Disk, Fiber and CO2 lasers
13.2 Kerf width
Generally, the kerf width varied over the length of the cut and it was not the same at the
upper and lower surfaces. The cutting process is assumed to be more stable at the leading
(end) position than at the trailing (start) position of the cut because it takes some time for
the system to accelerate to the required cutting speed. Therefore, only the kerf widths at the
leading (end) position of the cut are considered.
70
13.2.1 Disk laser
Continuous through cuts were obtained for most of the cutting speeds except for a few
cases such as when the 2.3mm sheet thickness was cut at the cutting speed of 18,7m/min
whereby there was resolidified melt that bound the bottom cut surfaces and also there was
no penetration when the 6.2mm sheet thickness was cut at 2,4m/min cutting speed.
Effect of focus position on kerf width
Figure 49 illustrates the variation of kerf width with focus position for the 1.3mm and
2.3mm sheet thickness. The kerf width was smaller when the focus position was on the
workpiece surface and above the surface. For the 2.3mm sheet thickness, the cut was
incomplete at the focus position of +3mm inside the sheet due to lack of penetration and
there was no cut at the focus position of +6mm inside the sheet.
Disk Laser, Power 4000 W
0,2
0,4
0,6
0,8
1
1,2
-6 -3 0 3 6
Focus position relative to the sheet surface (mm)
Top kerf width (mm)
1.3mm sheet thickness, 10m/min cutting speed and f = 400mm
2.3mm sheet thickness, 8m/min Cutting speed and f = 400mm, incomplete
penetration at 3mm focus position and no cut at 6mm focus position
Incomplete penetration
Above sheet Inside sheet
Figure 49. Kerf width variation with focus position for the 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet
thickness (Disk laser)
71
Effect of focused beam diameter and cutting speed on the kerf width obtained
Different focal lengths were used for focusing of the laser beam giving different focused
beam diameters. A shorter focal length gives a smaller focused beam diameter and the kerf
width is directly related to the focused beam diameter. A small focused beam diameter
leads to a small kerf width. The variation of kerf width with focused beam diameter and
cutting speed for 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness is shown in figure 50. The kerf width
was smaller when a focal length of 200mm was used than when the focal lengths of 400mm
and 600mm were used. This is because the 200mm focal length gives a smaller focused
beam diameter than the 400mm and 600mm focal lengths. The top kerf width was generally
larger than the bottom kerf width. However, there were a few cases, especially for the
2.3mm sheet thickness, where the bottom kerf width was larger than the top kerf width.
Disk Laser, Power 4000 W
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Cutting speed (m/min)
Kerf width (mm)
Top kerf width for 1.3mm sheet thickness
Bottom kerf width for 1.3mm sheet thickness
Top kerf width for 2.3mm sheet thickness
Bottom kerf width for 2.3mm sheet thickness
f = 200mm f = 200mm
f = 600mm
f = 400mm
f = 600mm
f = 400mm
Figure 50. Effect of cutting speed on kerf width (1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness)
72
Figure 51 shows the top and bottom kerf widths at maximum cutting speeds for the
different sheet thickness considered. The kerf widths for the 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet
thickness were generally smaller than for the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness. This is
expected basing on the fact that the focal length was 200mm for 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet
thickness and a focal length of 400mm was used when the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet
thickness was cut. It has already been shown in figure 50 that the kerf width is smaller
when the focal length is shorter because the focal length determines the achievable focus
spot size.
The difference between the top and bottom kerf width is large for the 4.3mm and 6.2mm
sheet thickness but the difference is not significant for the 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet
thickness. Defocusing of the laser beam and accumulation of heat in the workpiece as the
cut progresses could be the cause of the large difference between the top and bottom kerf
width for the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness.
Disk Laser, Power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
1.3mm, 200mm,
8bar
2.3mm, 200mm,
6bar
4.3mm, 400mm,
25bar
6.2mm, 400mm,
30bar
Material thickness, focal length and assist gas pressure
Cutting speed, m/min
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 51. Disk laser kerf widths for the 1.3, 2.3, 4.3 and 6.2 mm sheet thickness
73
13.2.2 Fiber laser
Figure 52 shows that the difference between the top and bottom kerf widths is not
significant in the 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness but it is great at the larger sheet
thickness of 4.3mm and 6.2mm. This trend is similar to that of the disk laser cut kerfs
shown in figure 51 and could also be caused by defocusing of the laser beam and
accumulation of heat in the workpiece during the cutting process.
Fiber Laser, Power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
1.3mm, 127mm,
12bar
2.3mm, 127mm,
14bar
4.3mm, 190.5mm,
16bar
6.2mm, 190.5 mm,
18bar
Sheet thickness, focal length and assist gas pressure
Cutting speed (m/min)
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 52. Fiber laser kerf widths for the 1.3, 2.3, 4.3 and 6.2 mm sheet thickness
74
13.2.3 CO2 laser
In figure 53, the CO2 laser cut kerfs also show a larger difference between the top and
bottom kerf widths as the sheet thickness increases. This trend can be attributed to the
widening of the laser beam after the focused spot and accumulation of heat in the
workpiece during the cutting process.
CO2 Laser, Power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
1.3mm, 190.5mm,
14bar
1.85mm, 190.5mm,
13,5bar
4.4mm, 190.5mm,
17bar
6.4mm, 254mm,
17bar
Sheet thickness and focal length
Cutting speed (m/min)
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 53. CO2 laser kerf widths for the 1.3, 1.85, 4.4 and 6.4 mm sheet thickness
13.3 Perpendicularity deviation of cut edges
Perpendicularity deviation is the perpendicular distance between the actual cut edge
obtained and the specified shape and location of the cut edge. It defines both straightness
75
and flatness deviations. The results for the perpendicularity deviation of the cut edges are
shown in figures 54, 55 and 56. Perpendicularity measurements were taken on both edges
of each cut kerf and each data point in these figures was the highest measured value for the
perpendicularity deviation of the edges for each cut kerf.
13.3.1 Disk laser
All the disk laser cut edges had perpendicularity deviations of less than 0.18 mm. The
perpendicularity deviation tended to decrease with increase in cutting speed except for the
2.3mm sheet thickness where there was an increase in perpendicularity deviation at cutting
speeds above 15m/min.
Disk Laser, Power 4000 W
0
0,02
0,04
0,06
0,08
0,1
0,12
0,14
0,16
0,18
0,2
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Cutting speed (m/min)
Perpendicularity deviation, u, in mm
1.3mm sheet thickness 2.3mm sheet thickness
4.3mm sheet thickness 6.2mm sheet thickness
Figure 54. Perpendicularity deviation of the disk laser cut edges
76
13.3.2 Fiber laser
For the fiber laser cuts, the perpendicularity deviation was measured for each of the five cut
edges per sheet thickness made at similar cutting conditions and at maximum cutting speed
for each sheet thickness considered. The 1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness cut edges had
relatively small perpendicularity deviations (less than 0.08mm). The perpendicularity
deviations of the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness cut edges were higher than 0.08 mm
but less than 0.18mm.

Fiber Laser, Power 4000 W
0
0,02
0,04
0,06
0,08
0,1
0,12
0,14
0,16
0,18
0,2
1 2 3 4 5
Range of identical cut kerfs for each sheet thickness
Perpendicularity deviation, u, in mm
1.3mm, Cutting speed 55 m/min 2.3mm, Cutting speed 27 m/min
4.3mm, Cutting speed 8,5 m/min 6.2mm, Cutting speed 4,5 m/min
Figure 55. Perpendicularity deviation of the fiber laser cut edges; for each sheet thickness,
five cut kerfs were made under similar cutting conditions
77
13.3.3 CO2 laser
At a similar cutting speed and 1.3mm sheet thickness, the perpendicularity deviation of the
CO2 laser cut edge (0.02mm) was lower than that of the disk laser cut edge (0.06mm).
Generally, the CO2 laser cut edges had a low perpendicularity deviation for all the four
sheet thickness (1.3mm, 1.85mm, 4.4mm and 6.4mm) considered, with the maximum
perpendicularity deviation of the 6.4mm sheet thickness cut edges being less than 0.16mm.
CO2 Laser, Power 4000 W
0
0,02
0,04
0,06
0,08
0,1
0,12
0,14
0,16
0,18
0,2
0246 8 10
Cutting speed (m/min)
Perpendicularity deviation, u, in mm
12
1.3mm sheet thickness 1.85mm sheet thickness
4.4mm sheet thickness 6.4mm sheet thickness
Figure 56. Perpendicularity deviation of the CO2 laser cut edges
78
13.4 Surface roughness
The surface roughness (Ra) results are shown in figures 57, 58, and 59. The data points in
these figures are the measured values for surface roughness in which the cut surfaces of
sheet thickness less than 3mm have one roughness value for each cut surface while the cut
surfaces of sheet thickness greater than 4mm have more than one roughness value.
The cut surfaces with sheet thickness less than 3mm showed uniform surface roughness
throughout the cut thickness that is why only one roughness value was enough to describe
the cut surface roughness. However, the surface roughness varied along the cut thickness of
the cut surfaces with sheet thickness greater than 4mm therefore more than one roughness
value was needed to describe the cut surface roughness.
13.4.1 Disk laser
Figure 57 shows the variation of the surface roughness (Ra) with cutting speed for the disk
laser cuts and the different sheet thickness (1.3mm, 2.3mm, 4.3mm and 6.2mm). The
6.2mm sheet thickness showed a large variation between the surface roughness at the top of
the cut thickness and that at the bottom of the cut thickness with the highest roughness
being at the bottom of the cut thickness. The 4.3mm sheet thickness showed only a small
difference between the roughness at the top and that at the bottom of the cut thickness.
The variation of surface roughness with cutting speed was not consistent probably because
of the variation in other cutting parameters such as assist gas pressure for the different
experiments. For instance at the various cutting speeds at which the 1.3mm sheet thickness
was cut, the assist gas pressures were 8 bar, 15 bar and 20 bar and the assist gas pressures
for the cutting experiments with 2.3mm sheet thickness were 6 bar and 20 bar for the
various cutting speeds at which the 2.3mm sheet thickness was cut. The variations in
cutting speed as well as the variations in assist gas pressure may have had a combined
effect on the surface roughness variation shown in figure 57.
79

Disk Laser, Power 4000 W
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Cutting speed (m/min)
Roughness, Ra (um)
1.3mm sheet thickness 2.3mm sheet thickness
4.3mm sheet thickness 6.2mm sheet thickness
Figure 57. Surface roughness of the disk laser cut surfaces
13.4.2 Fiber laser
The surface roughness results for the fiber laser cuts are shown in figure 58. Generally, the
1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness were cut at higher cutting speeds (above 10 m/min) and
showed a lower surface roughness compared with the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness
that were cut at lower cutting speeds (less than 10 m/min). The 2.3mm sheet thickness
showed an increase in surface roughness at cutting speeds beyond 20m/min. The data
points for the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness in figure 58 include roughness values at
the various positions on the cut thickness. The 4.3mm sheet thickness showed higher
80
surface roughness at the bottom than at the top of the cut thickness while the 6.2mm sheet
thickness showed highest surface roughness at the middle of the cut thickness with lower
roughness at the top and bottom of the cut thickness. Both the cutting speeds and laser
powers were varying in these fiber laser cutting experiments and the highest cutting speeds
for each sheet thickness were achieved at the highest laser power of 4000W. The assist gas
pressure, focal length and focus position were kept constant for each particular sheet
thickness at the various cutting speeds and laser power. This could be the reason for the
fairly consistent variation of the surface roughness with cutting speed as seen for the
1.3mm and 2.3mm sheet thickness in figure 58.
Fiber Laser, Power 4000 W
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
0 10 20 30 40 50 6
Cutting speed (m/min)
Roughness, Ra (um)
0
1.3mm sheet thickness 2.3mm sheet thickness
4.3mm sheet thickness 6.2mm sheet thickness
Figure 58. Surface roughness of the fiber laser cut surfaces
81
13.4.3 CO2 laser
The CO2 laser cut surfaces generally had low surface roughness for all the four sheet
thickness considered as figure 59 shows. Even the 4.4mm and 6.4mm sheet thickness
showed a relatively uniform surface roughness throughout the cut thickness as there was no
significant difference between the roughness at the top and that at the bottom of the cut
thickness. There was no significant change in surface roughness for the range of cutting
speeds considered which cutting speeds were actually quite close as figure 59 shows.
CO2 Laser, Power 4000 W
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
0 2 4 6 8 10
Cutting speed (m/min)
Roughne
s
s, Ra (um)
12
1.3mm sheet thickness 1.85mm sheet thickness
4.4mm sheet thickness 6.4mm sheet thickness
Figure 59. Surface roughness of the CO2 laser cut surfaces
82
14. DISCUSSION
The cut quality obtained for the three different lasers was compared in terms of the kerf
width, perpendicularity of the cut edges and surface roughness. Additionally, the cut kerfs
were classified according to the EN ISO 9013 cutting standard which presents tolerances
for surface roughness and cut edge perpendicularity. The perpendicularity of the cut edges
and surface roughness are critical for some subsequent processing applications such as
autogenous laser welding, which has stringent tolerances. The kerf width was not
considered in this classification because the cutting standard used does not include
tolerances for kerf width.
The description of the test material thickness in the discussion on maximum cutting speeds
and kerf width is based on the nearest mm – 1mm, 2mm, 4mm and 6mm (see table 3) – for
easy comparison across the three sets of experiments done with the disk, fiber and CO2
lasers.
14.1 Maximum cutting speeds
The main focus in the cutting experiments performed in this master’s thesis work was the
maximum achievable cutting speeds with an appropriate cut quality for the disk, fiber and
CO2 lasers. The cutting experiments have shown that the disk and fiber lasers are capable of
higher cutting speeds compared to the CO2 laser especially at sheet thickness less than 4mm
as shown in figure 48 and table 4.
The high cutting speeds achieved by the disk and fiber lasers can be directly attributed to
their high beam qualities. Absorption is also higher in the case of the disk and fiber lasers
because of their wavelength. The high beam quality and wavelength enable focusing of the
laser beam to a smaller spot resulting into higher power densities and hence higher cutting
speeds.
83
The high beam quality also enables use of longer focusing optics which increases the
working distance thus reducing the risk of spatters damaging the focusing optics. A larger
working distance is also advantageous when cutting is done in areas that are not easily
accessible.
Table 4. Maximum cutting speeds for the disk, fiber and CO2 lasers
Maximum cutting speed (m/min)
Percentage
increase in
cutting
speeds
compared to
CO2 laser
Sheet
thickness
(mm)
Disk laser
BPP = 8mm.mrad
λ = 1.07µm
Fiber laser
BPP = 2.5mm.mrad
λ = 1.07µm
CO2 laser
BPP = 6.14mm.mrad
λ = 10.6µm
Disk
laser
Fiber
laser
1 35 55 9.8 257% 461%
2 17 27 6.85 148% 294%
4 4.7 8,5 2.8 68% 204%
6 2.3 4.5 1.85 24% 143%
Some CO2 cutting experiments were done using compressed air as assist gas and
considerably higher cutting speeds were realized compared to cutting with nitrogen (see
appendix 3). However, it was visible that the cut edges were oxidized when compressed air
was used even though the relative proportions of oxygen and nitrogen in compressed air is
such that the proportion of oxygen is smaller than that of nitrogen. It maybe possible that
the cutting speeds of the disk and fiber laser can also be much higher if either compressed
air or oxygen is used as the assist gas in cases where productivity is of paramount
importance compared to the cut edge quality.
84
14.2 Kerf width
The kerf width represents the amount of material melted during cutting and correlates to the
focused spot size. A small kerf width can have advantages when small details are to be
made such as when cutting sharp corners. The kerf width mainly depends upon the focused
spot size. The size of the focus spot is determined by the laser beam quality and focusing
optics. Changing the beam waist position relative to the workpiece surface modifies the
power intensity at the workpiece surface thus affecting the size of the kerf as shown in
figure 49. A shorter focal length also resulted in a smaller kerf width as shown in figure 50.
This is expected because the focal length is also directly related to the focus spot size with a
shorter focal length giving a smaller focus spot size and hence a smaller kerf width.
The comparison of kerf widths at maximum cutting speeds for the disk, fiber and CO2
lasers at different material thickness (1mm, 2mm, 4mm and 6mm) are shown in figures 60,
61, 62 and 63. The disk and fiber laser cut kerfs showed a smaller kerf width than the CO2
laser cut kerfs. The smaller kerf widths can be attributed to the smaller focus spot size that
is associated with the better beam quality of the disk and fiber lasers as compared to the
CO2 laser beam quality.
The top kerf width was larger than the bottom kerf width for most of the cutting conditions
indicating the tapered nature of laser cutting as caused by the loss of beam intensity due to
widening of the focus spot size below the focus point and loss of gas pressure across the
thickness of the cut especially for the larger sheet thickness (4mm and 6mm).
85
1mm and 2mm sheet thickness
Figures 60 and 61 (1mm and 2mm sheet thickness) show a smaller kerf width
(approximately 0.3mm) for the disk and fiber lasers compared to the CO2 laser kerf widths
of around 0.4mm and 0.5mm for the 1mm and 2mm sheet thickness respectively. The
smaller kerf width for the disk and fiber laser cut kerfs can be attributed to their better beam
quality compared to the CO2 laser beam quality. A high beam quality results in a smaller
focus spot size and hence a smaller kerf width.

1 mm sheet thickness, Laser power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
Disk laser, 200mm,
8bar
Fiber laser, 127mm,
12bar
CO2 laser, 190,5mm,
14bar
Laser type, focal length and assist gas pressure
Cutting speed (m/min)
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 60. The top kerf width variation for the disk, CO2 and fiber lasers at maximum
cutting speed for 1mm sheet thickness (Disk: 35m/min, Fiber: 55m/min and CO2 laser:
9.8m/min)
86

2 mm sheet thickness, Laser power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
Disk laser, 200mm, 6bar Fiber laser, 127mm,
14bar
CO2 laser, 190,5mm,
13,5bar
Laser type, focal length and assist gas pressure
Cutting speed (m/min)
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 61. The top kerf width variation for the disk, CO2 and fiber lasers at maximum
cutting speed for 2mm sheet thickness (Disk: 17m/min, Fiber: 27m/min and CO2 laser:
6.85m/min)
The smaller kerf width of the disk and fiber laser cut kerfs can also be attributed to the high
cutting speeds of the disk and fiber lasers. The high cutting speeds cause a more localized
melting of material along the cut kerf while ensuring that there is not enough time for heat
conduction to the surrounding material. Heat conduction, which is favored by lower cutting
speeds, causes melting of more material around the kerf and hence leads to a wider kerf.
4mm and 6mm sheet thickness
For the 4mm and 6mm sheet thickness (figures 62 and 63), there was not much difference
in the kerf widths for the disk, fiber and CO2 lasers. The difference between the top and
bottom kerf widths was also generally larger at 4mm and 6mm sheet thickness than at 1mm
87
and 2mm sheet thickness. This could be because of the relatively lower cutting speeds at
the 4mm and 6mm sheet thickness compared to the cutting speeds at 1mm and 2mm sheet
thickness.
In the case of lower cutting speeds, the workpiece is heated up and melted within a
relatively wide zone around the laser beam resulting in the formation of a wider kerf width
at the top surface. Due to finite thermal conductivity, the top kerf width decreases with an
increase in cutting speed until the top kerf width corresponds to the diameter of the focused
laser beam. However, the focal length was not uniform in these cutting experiments with
the different cutting lasers used and could have also had an effect on the kerf width
variation observed in these experiments.

4 mm sheet thickness, Laser power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
Disk laser, 400mm,
25bar
Fiber laser, 190,5mm,
16bar
CO2 laser, 190,5mm,
17bar
Laser type, focal length and assist gas pressure
Cuttin
g speed (m/min)
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 62. The top kerf width variation for the disk, CO2 and fiber lasers at maximum
cutting speed for 4mm sheet thickness (Disk laser: 4.7m/min, Fiber laser: 8.5m/min and
CO2 laser: 2.8m/min)
88

6 mm sheet thickness, Laser power 4000 W
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50
55
60
Disk laser, 400mm,
30bar
Fiber laser, 190,5mm,
18bar
CO2 laser, 254mm,
17bar
Laser type, focal length and assist gas pressure
Cutting speed (m/min)
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0,6
0,7
0,8
0,9
1
1,1
1,2
Kerf width (mm)
Cutting speed Top kerf width Bottom kerf width
Figure 63. The top kerf width variation for the disk, CO2 and fiber lasers at maximum
cutting speed for 6mm sheet thickness (Disk laser: 2.3m/min, Fiber laser: 4.5m/min and
CO2 laser: 1.85m/min)
A larger amount of molten material is generated when cutting thicker sheets (4mm and
6mm) than when thinner sheets (1mm and 2mm) are cut. Therefore a higher gas pressure is
necessary during cutting of thicker sheets in order to effectively blow out the melt from the
cut kerf.
14.3 Perpendicularity deviation
Generally, the CO2 laser cut surfaces showed the lowest perpendicularity deviation in these
cutting experiments. Probably, the cutting speeds do not have a significant effect on the cut
edge perpendicularity since the CO2 laser cut kerfs were made at the lowest cutting speeds
89
compared to the disk and fiber laser experiments. However, in these particular cutting
experiments the cutting speed was varied as well as the assist gas pressure, focal length and
focus position. Therefore, the effects of the gas pressure, focal length and focus position on
the perpendicularity of the cut edges could not be established. This could be investigated
further by keeping all the other processing conditions constant while varying only the
cutting speed.
The maximum measured values for perpendicularity deviation for each cut kerf were used
for classification of the cut edges in the tolerance fields of the EN ISO 9013:2002 standard
for thermal cuts. In the perpendicularity tolerance limits of this standard, range 1
corresponds to the best quality and range 5 the worst quality.
The perpendicularity classification of the disk laser cut edges shown in figure 64 revealed
that for 1.3mm sheet thickness, the perpendicularity values were in ranges 1 and 2. The
perpendicularity values for the 2.3mm, 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness were in range 2
and only one value for the 6.2mm thickness was in range 3.
Disk laser
0
0,4
0,8
1,2
1,6
012 34567 8 9 10
Cut thickness, a, in mm
Perpendicularity tolerance, u, in mm
Range 1
Range 2
Range 3
Range 4
Range 5
1.3 mm
2.3 mm
4.3 mm
6.2 mm
1
2
3
4
5
Figure 64. Perpendicularity tolerance classification of the disk laser cut edges
90
Figure 65 shows the perpendicularity classification of the fiber laser cuts in which the
1.3mm sheet thickness cuts were classified within ranges 1 and 2 while all the cuts for the
2.3mm, 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness were classified within range 2.
Fiber Laser
0
0,4
0,8
1,2
1,6
0123456789 10
Cut thickness, a, in mm
Perpendicularity tolerance, u, in mm
Range 1
Range 2
Range 3
Range 4
Range 5
1.3 mm
2.3 mm
4.3 mm
6.2 mm
1
2
3
4
5
Figure 65. Perpendicularity tolerance classification of the fiber laser cut edges
91
The perpendicularity classification of the CO2 laser cuts is shown in figure 66. All the
perpendicularity values for the cuts of 1.3mm sheet thickness in range 1. The
perpendicularity values for the 1.85mm, 4.4mm and 6.4mm sheet thickness cuts were in
range 2.
CO2 Laser
0
0,4
0,8
1,2
1,6
0123456789 10
Cut thickness, a, in mm
Perpendicularity tolerance, u, in mm
Range 1
Range 2
Range 3
Range 4
Range 5
1.3 mm
1.85 mm
4.4 mm
6.4 mm
1
2
3
4
5
Figure 66. Perpendicularity tolerance classification of the CO2 laser cut edges
The perpendicularity classification of the disk, fiber and CO2 laser cuts shown in figures 64,
65 and 66 revealed that most of the cuts were within range 2. This perpendicularity
deviation is not critical for the welding of thick sheets because filler material can easily be
employed. However, it may be critical for the welding of thin sheets where use of filler
material may cause uneven weld profile.
92
14.4 Surface roughness
The cut quality revealed a higher surface roughness for the cuts of 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet
thickness made with the disk and fiber lasers and the roughness varied along the cut
thickness. The CO2 laser cuts had a relatively low surface roughness even at 4.4mm and
6.4mm sheet thickness and the roughness was uniform through the cut thickness. Previous
studies /2/ have shown that there is a critical cutting speed beyond which the surface
roughness increases and this critical cutting speed is dependent on the power level.
There was increased surface roughness of the 6.2mm sheet thickness that was cut using the
fiber laser at the maximum cutting speed of 4.5m/min and focal length of 7.5” (190.5mm).
Probably, laser cutting of this sheet thickness with the cutting speed of 4.5m/min might be
the boundary case for cutting with a focal length of 7.5” (190.5mm). Better results could
probably be achieved by using a longer focal length, say 10” (254mm). This problem
should be investigated further.
The cut surfaces were also classified in the tolerance fields of the EN ISO 9013 standard for
thermal cuts according to the maximum measured values. Range 1 of the mean height of
the profile, Rz5, tolerance limit corresponds to the best quality while range 4 corresponds to
the worst quality.
The roughness classification of the disk laser cut surfaces is shown in figure 67. The cut
surfaces for the 1.3mm sheet thickness had their roughness values within ranges 1 and 2.
Similarly, the roughness values of the cut surfaces for the 2.3mm sheet thickness were also
within ranges 1 and 2 except for one value that was in range 3. The cut surfaces for the
4.3mm sheet thickness had all their roughness values in range 2 and all the roughness
values of the cut surfaces for the 6.2mm sheet thickness were in range 3.
93
Disk laser
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
0 1 2 3 456 7 8 9 10
Cut thickness, a, in mm
Mean height of the profile, Rz5, in um
Range 1
Range 2
Range 3
Range 4
1.3 mm
2.3 mm
4.3 mm
6.2 mm
1
2
3
4
Figure 67. Roughness classification of the disk laser cut surfaces
94
Figure 68 shows the roughness classification of the fiber laser cut surfaces. The roughness
values of the cut surfaces for the 1.3mm sheet thickness were in ranges 1 and 2 and all the
roughness values of the cut surfaces for the 2.3mm sheet thickness were within range 2.
The roughness values of the cut surfaces for the 4.3mm sheet thickness were in ranges 2, 3
and 4 while all the roughness values of the cut surfaces for the 6.2mm sheet thickness were
in range 4.
Fiber Laser
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
0 1 2 3 456 7 8 9 10
Cut thickness, a, in mm
Mean height of the profile, Rz5, in um
Range 1
Range 2
Range 3
Range 4
1.3 mm
2.3 mm
4.3 mm
6.2 mm
1
2
3
4
Figure 68. Roughness classification of the fiber laser cut surfaces
95
The roughness classification of the CO2 laser cut surfaces is shown in figure 69. The
roughness values of the cut surfaces for the 1.3mm sheet thickness were classified in ranges
1 and 2 while cut surfaces for the 1.85mm, 4.4mm and 6.4mm sheet thickness had all their
roughness values in range 1.
CO2 Laser
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
0 1 2 3 456 7 8 9 10
Cut thickness, a, in mm
Mean height of the profile, Rz5, in um
Range 1
Range 2
Range 3
Range 4
1.3 mm
1.85 mm
4.4 mm
6.4 mm
1
2
3
4
Figure 69. Roughness classification of the CO2 laser cut surfaces
Generally, the CO2 laser cut surfaces showed a lower surface roughness than the disk laser
and fiber laser cut surfaces. The fiber laser cuts had the highest roughness at 6.2mm sheet
thickness. Probably the disk and fiber laser cutting experiments for the 4.3mm and 6.2mm
96
sheet thickness did not have the appropriate combinations of focal length, focus position,
cutting speeds and assist gas pressures for achievement of minimum surface roughness. For
the case of fiber laser cutting of 6.2mm sheet thickness, it could be possible that the surface
roughness can be reduced by the use of a longer focal length than the 7.5” (190.5mm) focal
length that was used in this thesis.
As it has been shown in equations 2 and 3 in section 7.1.3 that both the focus spot size and
depth of focus are directly proportional to the Beam Parameter Product (BPP), the high
beam quality (BPP = 2.5mm.mrad) of the fiber laser gives a smaller spot size and shorter
depth of focus which limit the effective cutting of thicker sheets. A shorter depth of focus
limits the length along the cut thickness for effective cutting to take place and a smaller
spot size results in a smaller kerf width that limits the effective removal of the large amount
of molten material generated in thick section cutting. Therefore, cutting of thicker sheets
requires a larger depth of focus for effective cutting throughout the whole sheet thickness
and a wider kerf that would allow a larger part of the gas flow to penetrate the kerf and
eject the molten material satisfactorily. The use of a longer focal length in this case would
give a wider kerf and a larger depth of focus. The focus position can also be adjusted
appropriately so as to achieve a wider kerf.
97
15. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The cutting speeds for the disk and fiber laser cutting experiments were enormous at sheet
thickness less than 4mm as compared to the CO2 laser cutting experiments. These high
cutting speeds are a direct effect of the high power densities facilitated by the high beam
quality. The cutting speeds for the disk and fiber lasers were lower at 6mm sheet thickness
but there was still a considerable percentage increase compared to the CO2 laser cutting
speeds at this thickness (see table 4).
The disk and fiber cutting experiments in this study achieved the objective of maximum
cutting speeds, which is a good parameter for higher productivity. However, optimization
of the cut quality in relation to the maximum cutting speeds was not achieved for the
4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness as seen by the high values of the surface roughness of
the disk laser and fiber laser cut surfaces for the 4.3mm and 6.2mm sheet thickness. The
classification of the cut surfaces revealed that the disk laser and fiber laser cutting
experiments did not achieve the anticipated smooth cut surfaces (low surface roughness).
The cut surface quality of the CO2 laser cuts was even better than that of the disk laser and
fiber laser cuts.
The cutting results showed that the disk laser and fiber laser have a potential for cutting
applications and are capable of competing favorably with the CO2 laser. It might be
possible that the defects observed for thick sheets can be avoided by proper selection of
process parameters especially focus position, cutting speed and gas pressure. The
appropriate cutting parameters for the disk laser and fiber laser cutting of larger sheet
thickness (thickness greater than 4mm) could not be established in this study as it was
beyond the scope of this thesis.
Future studies on cutting of stainless steel with the disk laser and fiber laser could cover
optimization of the cut quality by ensuring minimum surface roughness and minimum
perpendicularity deviation. The focus could be on improving the surface quality for the
thicker sheet.
98
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107
APPENDICES
Appendix 1. Disk laser cutting parameters
Appendix 2. Fiber laser cutting parameters
Appendix 3. CO2 laser cutting parameters
108
Appendix 1, 1
APPENDIX 1. DISK LASER CUTTING PARAMETERS
Nr. Geometry Thickness
[mm]
Cutting
speed
[m/min]
Laser
power
[W]
Focal
length
[mm]
Focus point
position
[mm]
Working
distance
[mm]
Assist
gas
Gas
pressure
[bar]
Nozzle
diameter
[mm]
Remark
Material: Stainless ste
el AISI 304 (sheet thickness: 1.3mm, 4.3mm and 6.2mm) and AISI 316 (sheet thickness: 2.3mm)
1 Line 100 mm 1.3 31,5
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 8 1,2 Good
2 Line 100 mm 1.3 33,25
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 8 1,2 Good
3 Line 100 mm 1.3 35 4000 200 0 0,3
N2 8 1,2 Very good
4 Line 100 mm 1.3 36,75 4000
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 8 1,2
G
o
o
d
5 Line 100 mm 1.3 38,5
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 8 1,2
G
o
o
d
6 Line 100 mm 1.3 9
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -1 0,5
N2 2
0 1,7
G
o
o
d
7 Line 100 mm 1.3 9,5
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -1 0,5
N2 20 1,7 Good
8 Line 100 mm 1.3 10
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -1 0,5
N2 20 1,7 Good
9 Line 100 mm 1.3 10,5 4000
4
0
0 -1 0,5
N2 20 1,7 Good, small burr
10 Line 100 mm 1.3 11
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -1 0,5
N2 20 1,7 Good, small burr
11 Line 100 mm 1.3 10
4
0
0
0
4
0
0
6
0,5
N2 2
0 1,7 Cut, burrs
12 Line 100 mm 1.3 10
4
0
0
0
4
0
0
3
0,5
N2 2
0 1,7 Cut, burrs
13 Line 100 mm 1.3 10
4
0
0
0
4
0
0
0
0,5
N2 20 1,7 Good, nearly no burr
14 Line 100 mm 1.3 10 4000
4
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 2
0 1,7 Cut, burrs
15 Line 100 mm 1.3 10 4000
4
0
0 -6
0,5
N2 20 1,7 Not good, much burrs
Appendix 1, 2
16 Line 100 mm 1.3 6,3
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,3
N2 15 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
17 Line 100 mm 1.3 6,65 4000
6
0
0 -3
0,3
N2 15 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
18 Line 100 mm 1.3 7 4000
6
0
0 -3
0,3
N2 15 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
19 Line 100 mm 1.3 7,35
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,3
N2 15 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
20 Line 100 mm 1.3 7,7
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,3
N2 15 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
21 Line 100 mm 2.3 15,3
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 6 1,2 Good, small burr
22 Line 100 mm 2.3 16,15 4000
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 6 1,2 Good, small burr
23 Line 100 mm 2.3 17 4000 200 0 0,3 N2 6 1,2 Good, nearly no burr
24 Line 100 mm 2.3 17,85
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 6 1,2 Good, small burr
25 Line 100 mm 2.3 18,7
4
0
0
0
2
0
0
0
0,3
N2 6 1,2 Burrs and resolidified melt
26 Line 100 mm 2.3 7,2
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -2
0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
27 Line 100 mm 2.3 7,6 4000
4
0
0 -2
0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
28 Line 100 mm 2.3 8 4000
4
0
0 -2
0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
29 Line 100 mm 2.3 8,4 4000 400 -2 0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
30 Line 100 mm 2.3 8,8 4000 400 -2 0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, nearly no burr
31 Line 100 mm 2.3 8
4
0
0
0
4
0
0
6
0,3
N2 2
0
2,3
N
o
cut
32 Line 100 mm 2.3 8
4
0
0
0
4
0
0
3
0,3
N2 20 2,3 No penetration
33 Line 100 mm 2.3 8 4000
4
0
0
0
0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
34 Line 100 mm 2.3 8
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -3
0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
35 Line 100 mm 2.3 8
4
0
0
0
4
0
0 -6
0,3
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
36 Line 100 mm 2.3 5,4
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
37 Line 100 mm 2.3 5,7
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
Appendix 1, 3
38 Line 100 mm 2.3 6
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
39 Line 100 mm 2.3 6,3 4000
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
40 Line 100 mm 2.3 6,6 4000
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 20 2,3 Good, small burr
41 Line 100 mm 4.3 4,23 4000 400 -0,5 0,3
N2 25 2,3 Cut, burrs
42 Line 100 mm 4.3 4,465 4000 400 -0,5 0,3
N2 25 2,3 Cut, burrs
43 Line 100 mm 4.3 4,7 4000 400 -0,5 0,3
N2 25 2,3 Good, small burrs
44 Line 100 mm 4.3 4,935 4000
4
0
0 -0,5
0,3
N2 2
5
2,3 Cut, burrs
45 Line 100 mm 4.3 5,17 4000
4
0
0 -0,5
0,3
N2 2
5
2,3 Cut, burrs
46 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,07
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 3
0
2,3 Cut, burrs
47 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,185
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 3
0
2,3 Cut, burrs
48 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,3
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 3
0
2,3 Cut, burrs
49 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,415 4000
6
0
0 -3
0,5
N2 30 2,3 No penetration
50 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,07 4000
6
0
0 -0,5 0,3 N2 30 2,3 Cut, burrs
51 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,185
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -0,5
0,3
N2 30 2,3 Cut, burrs
52 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,3 4000 600 -0,5 0,3
N2 30 2,3 Cut, small burrs
53 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,415
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -0,5
0,3
N2 3
0
2,3
Cut, burrs
54 Line 100 mm 6.2 2,53
4
0
0
0
6
0
0 -0,5
0,3
N2 3
0
2,3
Cut, burrs
Appendix 2, 1
APPENDIX 2. FIBER LASER CUTTING PARAME
T
E
RS
Nr. Geometry Thickness
[mm]
Cutting
speed
[m/min]
Laser
power
[W]
Focal
length
[mm]
Focus point
position
[mm]
Working
distance
[mm]
Assist
Gas
Gas
pressure
[bar]
Nozzle
diameter
[mm]
Remark
Material: Stainless ste
el AISI 304 (sheet thickness: 1.3 mm)
1 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1500 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Good
2 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1000 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
3 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
4 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0 0,5
N2 10 2 Burr
5 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
6 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 -0,5 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
7 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 -0,3 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
8 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0,3 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
9 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0,2 7 N2 12 2 Very good
10 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0,2 0,7 N2 12 1,5 Burr
11 Line 150 mm 1.3 10 1100 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Good
12 Line 150 mm 1.3 20 1500 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
13 Line 150 mm 1.3 20 1425 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
14 Line 150 mm 1.3 20 1350 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 No cut
15 Line 150 mm 1.3 20 1575 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
Appendix 2, 2
16 Line 150 mm 1.3 20 1650 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Very good
17 Line 150 mm 1.3 30 2000 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
18 Line 150 mm 1.3 30 1925 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 No cut
19 Line 150 mm 1.3 30 2075 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
20 Line 150 mm 1.3 30 2150 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
21 Line 150 mm 1.3 40 3000 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Very good
22 Line 150 mm 1.3 40 2925 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Very good
23 Line 150 mm 1.3 40 2850 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Very good
24 Line 150 mm 1.3 40 2775 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
25 Line 150 mm 1.3 40 3075 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Very good
26 Line 150 mm 1.3 50 3500 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
27 Line 150 mm 1.3 50 3425 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 No c
omplete cut
28 Line 150 mm 1.3 50 3575 127 0 0,5 N2 12 2 Very good
29 Line 150 mm 1.3 60 4000 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 No cut
30 Line 150 mm 1.3 55 4000 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Very good
Material: Stainless ste
el AISI 316 (sheet thickness: 2.3 mm)
31 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 2000 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Burr
32 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1800 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Burr
33 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1600 127 0 0,5
N2 12 2 Burr
34 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1500 127 0 0,5
N2 10 2 Burr
35 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1400 127 0 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
36 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1400 127 -0,5 0,5 N2 12 2 No cut
Appendix 2, 3
37 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1500 127 -0,5 0,5 N2 12 2 No cut
38 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1800 127 -0,5 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
39 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1800 127 -1 0,5 N2 12 2 Good, nearly no burr
40 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1800 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 12 2 Good, nearly no burr
41 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1800 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Very good
42 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1725 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
43 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1650 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 No cut
44 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1875 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Very good
45 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1950 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Very good
46 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1875 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 10 2 Burr
47 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1875 127 -1,3 0,7 N2 14 2 Burr
48 Line 150 mm 2.3 10 1875 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 1,5 Burr
49 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 3000 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
50 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2925 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Burr
51 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2850 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
52 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2800 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
53 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2700 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
54 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2600 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
55 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2500 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Burr
56 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2500 127 -1 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
57 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2850 127 -1 0,5
N2 14 2 Burr
58 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2850 127 -2 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
Appendix 2, 4
59 Line 150 mm 2.3 15 2850 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
60 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3500 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
61 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3300 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
62 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3300 127 -1 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
63 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3300 127 -0,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
64 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3300 127 -1,2 0,8 N2 14 2 Burr
65 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3225 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
66 Line 150 mm 2.3 20 3375 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Small melt belts
67 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3800 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
68 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3800 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
69 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3700 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
70 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3600 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 No cut
71 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3700 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 12 2 Burr
72 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3700 127 -2 0,5 N2 14 2 No cut
73 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3700 127 -1 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
74 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3700 127 -0,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
75 Line 150 mm 2.3 25 3700 127 -1,2 0,8 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
76 Line 150 mm 2.3 30 4000 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 No cut
77 Line 150 mm 2.3 27 4000 127 -1,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
Material: Stainless ste
el AISI 304 (sheet thickness: 4.3 mm)
78 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 127 -1,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
79 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 127 -2,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
Appendix 2, 5
80 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 127 -3,5 0,5
N2 14 2 Burr
81 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 127 -4,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
82 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 127 -5,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
83 Line 150 mm 4.3 3 2000 127 -5,5 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
84 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 0 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
85 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 -2 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
86 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 -3 0,5
N2 14 2 Burr
87 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 -4 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
88 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 -5 0,5 N2 14 2 Small burr
89 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
90 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2150 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
91 Line 150 mm 4.3 2,5 2000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 Very good
92 Line 150 mm 4.3 5 3000 190.5 -6 0,5
N2 16 2 Very good
93 Line 150 mm 4.3 5 2850 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 Very good
94 Line 150 mm 4.3 5 2700 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 No cut
95 Line 150 mm 4.3 5 2800 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 Burr
96 Line 150 mm 4.3 5 3075 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 Good, nearly no burr
97 Line 150 mm 4.3 7,5 3800 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 14 2 Good, nearly no burr
98 Line 150 mm 4.3 8,5 4000 190.5 -6 0,5
N2 16 2 Good, nearly no burr
99 Line 150 mm 4.3 8,5 4000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
100 Line 150 mm 4.3 9,5 4000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 No cut
101 Line 150 mm 4.3 8,5 4000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 16 2 Good, nearly no burr
Appendix 2, 6
Material: Stainless ste
el AISI 304 (sheet thickness: 6.2 mm)
102 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 3000 190.5 0 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
103 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 3000 190.5 -3 0,5 N2 14 2 Burr
104 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 3000 190.5 -6 0,5
N2 14 2 Burr
105 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 3000 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 14 2 Small burr
106 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 3000 190.5 -8 0,5
N2 16 2 Burr
107 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 3000 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 20 2 Burr
108 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2750 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 16 2 Burr
109 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2500 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2 No cut
110 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2600 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2 No cut
111 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2650 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2 Burr
112 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2650 190.5 -7,9 0,6
N2 18 2 Burr
113 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2650 190.5 -7,8 0,7 N2 18 2 Burr
114 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2650 190.5 -7,7 0,8 N2 18 2 Burr
115 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2650 190.5 -7,6 0,9
N2 18 2 Burr
116 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2650 190.5 -7,5 1 N2 18 2 Burr
117 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2800 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2 Burr
118 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2800 190.5 -9 0,5 N2 18 2 Burr
119 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2800 190.5 -7 0,5 N2 18 2 Burr
120 Line 150 mm 6.2 2,5 2800 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2,5 Small burr
121 Line 150 mm 6.2 1,5 2750 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2,5 Good, nearly no burr
122 Line 150 mm 6.2 1 2750 190.5 -8 0,5
N2 18 2,5 Burr
Appendix 2, 7
123 Line 150 mm 6.2 1,5 2200 190.5 -8 0,5 N2 18 2,5 Good, nearly no burr
124 Line 150 mm 6.2 3,5 3500 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 18 2,5 Cut
125 Line 150 mm 6.2 4 4000 190.5 -6 0,5
N2 18 2,5 Cut
126 Line 150 mm 6.2 4,5 4000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 18 2,5 Cut, s
mall burr
127 Line 150 mm 6.2 5 4000 190.5 -6 0,5 N2 18 2,5 No cut
Appendix 3, 1
APPENDIX 3. CO2 LASER CUT
TING PARAMETERS
Nr. Geo
metry Thickness
[mm]
Cutting
speed
[m/
min]
Laser
power
[W]
Focal
length
[mm]
Focus point
position
[mm]
Working
distance
[mm]
Assist
gas
Gas
pressure
[bar]
Nozzle
dia
meter
[mm]
Remark
Material: Stainless ste
el AISI 304 (sheet thickness: 1.3mm, 1.85mm, 4.4 and 6.4mm)
1 Line 100 mm 1.3 8,8
4
0
0
0 19
0.5 2,5 0,8 N2 14 1,4 Very good
2 Line 100 mm 1.3 9,3 4000 190.5
2,5 0,8 N2 14 1,4 Very good
3 Line 100 mm 1.3 9,8 4000 190.5 2,5 0,8
N2 14 1,4 Very good
4 Line 100 mm 1.3 10,3 4000 190.5
2,5 0,8 N2 14 1,4 Good
5 Line 100 mm 1.3 10,8 4000 190.5 2,5 0,8 N2 14 1,4 Good
6 Line 100 mm 1.3 15,3 4000 190.5 0
0,8 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
7 Line 100 mm 1.3 16,2 4000 190.5 0
0,8 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
8 Line 100 mm 1.3 17 4000 190.5 0
0,8 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
9 Line 100 mm 1.3 17,8 4000 190.5 0
0,8 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
10 Line 100 mm 1.3 18,7
4
0
0
0 19
0.5 0
0,8 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
11 Line 100 mm 1.85 6,2 4000 190.5 0
0,7
N2 13,5 1,4
G
o
o
d
12 Line 100 mm 1.85 6,5 4000 190.5 0 0,7
N2 13,5 1,4 Good
13 Line 100 mm 1.85 6,85 4000 190.5 0 0,7
N2 13,5 1,4 Good
14 Line 100 mm 1.85 7,2 4000 190.5 0 0,7
N2 13,5 1,4
S
mall burrs
Appendix 3, 2
15 Line 100 mm 1.85 7,5 4000 190.5 0 0,7
N2 13,5 1,4
S
mall burrs
16 Line 100 mm 1.85 7,8 4000 190.5 1 0,7 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
17 Line 100 mm 1.85 8,3 4000 190.5 1 0,7 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
18 Line 100 mm 1.85 8,7 4000 190.5 1 0,7 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
19 Line 100 mm 1.85 9,1 4000 190.5 1 0,7 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
20 Line 100 mm 1.85 9,6 4000 190.5 1 0,7 Air 3 1,4 Oxidized cut surfaces
21 Line 100 mm 4.4 2,5 4000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Good
22 Line 100 mm 4.4 2,7 4000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Good
23 Line 100 mm 4.4 2,8 4000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Very good
24 Line 100 mm 4.4 2,9 4000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Good
25 Line 100 mm 4.4 3,1 4000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Good
26 Line 100 mm 4.4 4,1 6000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Very good
27 Line 100 mm 4.4 4,3 6000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Very good
28 Line 100 mm 4.4 4,5 6000 190.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Very good
29 Line 100 mm 4.4 4,7
6
0
0
0 19
0.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Very good
30 Line 100 mm 4.4 4,95
6
0
0
0 19
0.5 -2,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7
G
o
o
d, small b
urrs
31 Line 100 mm 6.4 1,7 4000 254 -3,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Good
32 Line 100 mm 6.4 1,85 4000 254 -3,5 0,7
N2 17 1,7 Very good
33 Line 100 mm 6.4 1,9 4000
254 -3,5 0,7
N2 18 1,7 Incomplete
penetratio
n

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