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Laser micro-forming using a pulsed Nd:YAG laser

22nd International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO 2003), Jacksonville, Florida, October 13-16, 2003, Paper No.M409, Laser Institute of America, Publication No.595, Vol.95, ISBN 0-912035-75-7, 2003

G. Dearden, C. Taylor, K. Bartkowiak, S.P. Edwardson, K.G. Watkins Laser Group, Department of Engineering, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


Abstract: Laser forming (LF) offers the industrial promise of controlled shaping of metallic and non-metallic components for prototyping, the correction of design shape or distortion and precision adjustment applications. The potential process advantages include precise incremental adjustment, flexibility of application and no mechanical ‘spring-back’ effect. In laser micro-forming, this work is being extended to explore the controlled shaping of thin sheet and foils at a scale where the material stresses are expected to dominate the process, not just at the irradiated regions, but throughout the work-piece volume. The use of scanning optics is being investigated to potentially achieve a more uniform temporal and spatial distribution of the laser energy, possibly leading to reduced part distortion, by scanning the beam across the sheet surface with both continuous and segmented irradiation geometries. The work reported centres on initial experimental studies performed on a Nd:YAG laser marking system to investigate the application feasibility and the forming effects of the pulsed laser beam delivered via scanning optics on the LF of thin metal sheet and foils. Several irradiation strategies have been studied and sensor instrumentation has been applied during the process to record strain and temperature fields. Laser-based surface analysis of the micro-formed parts was applied to accurately measure bend angles in a repeatable method. The results are described and characterised in relation to key LF mechanisms. A number of current and proposed applications for laser micro-forming are reported.

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