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On the ablation behavior of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics during laser surface treatment using pulsed lasers

: Gebauer, Jana; Burkhardt, Maximilian; Franke, Volker; Lasagni, Andrés-Fabián

Fulltext ()

Materials 13 (2020), No.24, Art. 5682, 17 pp.
ISSN: 1996-1944
Sächsische Aufbaubank - Förderbank SAB
EFRE; 100343527
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWS ()
pulsed laser; selective matrix removal; carbon fiber-reinforced plastic; ablation threshold

This contribution discusses the ablation phenomena observed during laser treatment of carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRPs) with pulsed lasers observed employing laser sources with wavelengths of 355 nm, 1064 nm and 10.6 µm and pulse durations from picoseconds (11 ps) to microseconds (14 µs) are analyzed and discussed. In particular, the threshold fluence of the matrix material epoxy (EP) and the damage threshold of CFRP were calculated. Moreover, two general surface pretreatment strategies are investigated, including selective matrix removal and structure generation through indentation (ablation of both, matrix material and fibers) with a cross-like morphology. The surfaces obtained after the laser treatment are characterized by means of optical and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy is employed for the analysis of composite and constituent materials epoxy and carbon fibers. As a result, different ablation mechanisms, including evaporation and delamination are observed, depending on the employed laser wavelength and pulse duration. For both 355 nm and 1064 nm wavelength, the laser radiation produces only partial ablation of the carbon fibers due to their higher absorption coefficient compared to the epoxy matrix. Although a selective matrix removal without residues is achieved using the pulsed CO2 laser. Differently, both constituent materials are ablated with the nanosecond pulsed UV laser, producing indentations. The sum of the investigations has shown that existing theories of laser technology, such as the ablation threshold according to Liu et al., can be applied to composite materials only to a limited extent. Furthermore, it has been found that the pronounced heterogeneity of CFRP mostly leads to an inhomogeneous ablation result, both when creating grooves and during selective matrix removal, where the carbon fibers influence the ablation result by their thermal conductivity, depending on fiber direction. Finally, despite the material inhomogeneity, a scanning strategy has been developed to compensate the heterogeneous ablation results regarding structure depth, width and heat affected zone.