Macro & Micro Applications for Fiber Lasers

The aerospace industry is showing an increased interest in composite materials. The A380, A350XWB and the Boeing 787 are using or plan to use a large percentage of composite material in their construction. Aerospace companies at present are favouring water jet machining for material processing of composites, i.e. cutting, milling. We have investigated the use of fibre lasers in processing both carbon and glass fibre composites. We have used two different types of laser, the first a 200W fibre laser system from SPI Lasers to investigate laser cutting and milling. The second was a picosecond pulsed fibre laser system from Fianium investigated a micromachining application. Our results show that by careful control of processing parameters laser cutting of both thin and thicker composite material is possible and our micromachining experiments showed that it is possible to micro-texture the surface of carbon composite and modify the surface wettability to promote increased bond strength in a composite joint.

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