Study of correlation between edge roughness and gas flow characteristics in laser beam fusion cutting
Fiber laser fusion cutting trials on AISI 304 stainless steel sheets of 10 mm thickness were performed with the aim to gain further insights into the striation formation process on cut edges. The study is based on a factorial Design-of-Experiment (DoE) approach with consideration of laser power, focal plane position, gas pressure, nozzle stand-off and nozzle diameter as control factors. Analyzed responses include the achievable cutting speed, the cut kerf geometry and the cut edge roughness. In addition, numerical simulations of the cutting gas flow were carried out for adapted kerf geometries and gas parameters. The evaluation of these results reveals strong correlations between experimental roughness values and the numerically computed rear-directed shear stress component within the transition zone between cutting front and cut edge surface. This finding supports the hypothesis that the particular characteristics of the boundary layer zone of the cutting gas flow affects the structure and roughness of cut edges.