P.Okon**, G.Dearden*, K.Watkins*, M.Sharp+, P.French+
*Laser Group, Department of Engineering, University of Liverpool, Brownlow Street,
Liverpool L69 3GH, United Kingdom
+Lairdside Laser Engineering Centre, Birkenhead, Wirral CH41 9HP, United Kingdom
There are two laser welding mechanisms, keyhole mode and conduction mode. Keyhole welding is widely used because it produces welds with high aspect ratios and narrow heat affected zones. However keyhole welding can be unstable, as the keyhole oscillates and closes intermittently. This intermittent closure causes porosity due to gas entrapment. Conduction welding, on the other hand, is more stable since vaporisation is minimal and hence there is no further absorption below the surface of the material. Conduction welds are usually produced using low-power focused laser beams. This results in shallow welds with a low aspect ratio. In this work, high-power CO2 and YAG lasers have been used to produce laser conduction welds on 2mm and 3mm gauge AA5083 respectively by means of defocused beams. Full penetration butt-welds of 2mm and 3mm gauge AA5083 using this process have been produced. It has been observed that in this regime the penetration depth increases initially up to a maximum and then decreases with increasing spot size (corresponding to increase in distance of focus above the workpiece). Results of comparison of tensile strength tests for keyhole and conduction welds are shown. This process offers an alternative method of welding aluminium alloys, which have a high thermal conductivity.