Laser material processing of composite materials such as carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) for aerospace structures is generating a great deal of interest in the aerospace industry. The aerospace sector is seeing the potential benefits of laser processing over other machining technologies such as water jet or traditional mechanical cutting or milling. An important question that the industry needs answering is which laser systems offers the best processing characteristics with respect to machined surface quality, cycle time and cost. At present three laser systems are being seriously considered by the industry for applications such as drilling, cutting and milling operations on CFRP. They are Pulsed TEA-CO2 , DPSS UV and fibre laser systems. This paper investigates laser cutting and laser milling of CFRP and the machining strategy for cutting CFRP and GFRP using a fibre laser.

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