The laser, as a metallurgical fusion welding process, was little more than a dream approximately four years ago. Many uses have been proposed for the laser but one of the most promising uses for the process, to the welding engineer and to the designer of aerospace hardware, is its now proven capability as a fusion welding process.
This paper discusses where, in metallurgical joining, the laser can be employed to join members which would be impossible to fusion weld by any other fusion welding process with any degree of reliability. There are now indications that the laser process “begins” where the electron beam process “leaves off” in the fusion welding of small components in close proximity to glass or ceramic seals. This paper also goes into detail relative to the application of the process on various materials, its effect on materials, and on various configurations which appear to be particularly adaptable for the process. Also, a comparative analysis is made between the laser process and to its most closely related process, electron beam welding.