Effect of Very High Travel Speeds on Melting Efficiency in Laser Beam Welding 1999-01-0996
Calorimetric measurements of the net heat input to the workpiece have been made to determine the effect of very high travel speeds on laser weld melting efficiency. Very high welding speeds are required in welding applications such as automotive where lasers are now applied extensively. Travel speeds as fast as 530 mm/s for continuous wave CO2 laser welding on 304 stainless steel have been examined in this study. Melting efficiency indicates what fraction of the laser power absorbed is used to produce melting rather than undesirable base metal heating. It was found that melting efficiency initially increased then slowly decreased as fusion zone dimensions changed. Dimensionless parameter correlations for melting efficiency based on heat flow theory have been presented for both 2D and 3D heat flow geometries. The levels of melting efficiency observed are close to the maximum values that are predicted with these correlations. Determinations of the melting point isotherms and analysis of changes to the dimensionless parameters have been shown to predict the observed changes in melting efficiency. The results indicate that an enhanced melting efficiency is obtained in high speed laser welding when either the fusion zone aspect ratio or the joint geometry promote 2D heat flow.