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Experimental investigation on a new hybrid laser process for surface structuring by vapor pressure on Ti6Al4V

: Temmler, A.; Liu, D.M.; Drinck, S.; Luo, J.B.; Poprawe, R.


Journal of materials processing technology 277 (2020), Art. 116450
ISSN: 0924-0136
Journal Article
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Besides conventional structuring processes such as turning, milling or photo-chemical etching, laser processes are increasingly being used for surface structuring of metals. These laser processes differ fundamentally in that structuring is carried out either by material removal or by material redistribution. In this study, a new hybrid process of material ablation by means of pulsed laser radiation and material redistribution based on a remelting process by means of cw laser radiation is experimentally investigated. Besides an introduction to this new hybrid process, we give a detailed description of the equipment and methods used as well as surface structures produced on Ti6Al4V. A melt pool was generated on a prepared Ti6Al4V surface using cw laser radiation with a laser beam diameter of 520 μm, laser power of 220 W, and a scanning velocity of 100 mm/s. In order to create surface structures, simultaneously, superimposed pulsed laser radiation with a laser beam diameter of 65 μm, pulse duration of 60 ns, a maximum pulse energy of 0.35 mJ, and a pulse frequency of 50 kHz was used to evaporate small amounts of molten material from the melt pool. This localized evaporation of molten material is assumed to create vapor pressure that deforms the melt pool surface and therefore leads to surface structures. Our results indicate that by pulsed laser radiation capillary surface waves with a wavelength of the doubled laser beam diameter are excited on the melt pool surface. This forced excitation of capillary surface waves result in surface structures that are analyzed after solidification by means of white light interferometry. Based on this analysis we derived an oscillation frequency of ν = 2.27 (± 0.16) kHz for the excited capillary surface wave as well as an effective kinematic viscosity of μ = 0.1328 cm2 s−1 for the damping of this surface oscillation during solidification. In terms of structural features, we achieved surface structures with heights of up to 100 μm. Furthermore, structure height controllably scales in dependence on pulse energy and number of laser pulses as long as no ejection of molten material takes place. Finally, a comparison of the redistributed material volume per time shows that we achieved a volume redistribution rate of 28.37 mm3/min, which is significantly bigger than has been achieved with other laser texturing techniques so far and demonstrates the high potential of this new hybrid technique not only for surface structuring purposes.