During high power CO2laser beam welding, the plasma above the keyhole has a shielding effect that it not only absorbs part of the laser energy but also defocuses the laser beam. As a result, the welding efficiency and the aspect ratio of the welds are influenced. In order to reduce the effect of plasma, helium as a plasma control gas has been used successfully and effectively. However, the cost of helium in Southeast Asia is extremely high and therefore the production cost is significantly increased when helium is used as a continuous bleeding plasma control gas. To search for an alternative plasma control technique, feasibility in using magnetic effect as a control tool is explored in this paper. The influences of the magnetic field strength, laser power, welding speed, field direction and shielding gas (e.g. helium and argon) on the penetration depth and the width of bead were also investigated. Experimental results indicated that the magnetic field can influence the shielding effect of the plasma without using plasma control gas. It was found that at a suitable magnetic field strength the penetration depth was increased by about 7%, but no significant difference on the width of bead was found. Moreover, it was shown that the plasma control effect can be achieved at low magnetic field strength and the penetration depth can be increased significantly under argon atmosphere.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering