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In situ observation with x-ray for tentative exploration of laser beam welding processes for aluminum-based alloys

: Börner, Stephan; Dittrich, Dirk; Mohlau, Philipp; Leyens, Christoph; Garcia-Moreno, Francisco; Kamm, Paul Hans; Neu, Tillmann Robert; Schlepütz, Christian Matthias

Fulltext ()

Journal of laser applications : JLA 33 (2021), No.1, Art. 012026, 8 pp.
ISSN: 1042-346X
ISSN: 1938-1387
Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IWS ()
aluminium; laser beam welding; X-ray imaging; radiography; soldification process; beam scanner; laser materials processing; tomography

In recent years, laser processes have taken an ever-increasing market share in the manufacture of components. The development of new, improved beam sources with corresponding systems technology and the decreasing investment costs of the beam sources are important keys to this success. Particularly, high frequency beam oscillation has great potential in laser beam welding and cutting. The main obstacle for the widespread breakthrough of high frequency (HF) beam oscillation is the still insufficient understanding of the underlying physical mechanisms. Gaining a deeper insight is essential for process optimization. The in situ observation with x rays enables the visualization and analysis of these highly dynamic processes inside the workpiece. The goal of the performed experiment described in this paper was to in situ analyze the structural evolution of and defect generation in laser welding beads of different aluminum alloys. A fiber laser (max. 600 W, cw output power) including a beam scanner control system for rapid beam guidance was used. Of general interest was the comparison between static and oscillated beam guidance and the effects on the joining procedure. This paper shows the initial results of the analysis of the melt pool behavior and seam formation as well as the formation of seam irregularities during the laser process. In the simplest case, radiographs were taken, i.e., 2D projections of the x-ray absorption coefficient distribution within a material. Thereby, recordings from 10 000 up to 40 000 fps could be generated. Furthermore, tomoscopies—the continuous acquisition of tomographic (3D) images, up to 100 tomograms per second—could be generated with proven equipment, whose main components are a high-speed rotation stage and a camera system. The findings will help to get a better understanding of keyhole phenomena as well as effects of turbulent melt flow such as pore formation and guide to solutions for preventing them. Hence, initial results of high frequency beam oscillation processes including melt pool degassing and porosity reduction will be shown and discussed.