High Power Laser Beam Welding of Thick-walled Ferromagnetic Steels with Electromagnetic Weld Pool Support
The development of modern high power laser systems allows single pass welding of thick-walled components with minimal distortion. Besides the high demands on the joint preparation, the hydrostatic pressure in the melt pool increases with higher plate thicknesses. Reaching or exceeding the Laplace pressure, drop-out or melt sagging are caused. A contactless electromagnetic weld support system was used for laser beam welding of thick ferromagnetic steel plates compensating these effects. An oscillating magnetic field induces eddy currents in the weld pool which generate Lorentz forces counteracting the gravity forces. Hysteresis effects of ferromagnetic steels are considered as well as the loss of magnetization in zones exceeding the Curie temperature. These phenomena reduce the effective Lorentz forces within the weld pool. The successful compensation of the hydrostatic pressure was demonstrated on up to 20 mm thick plates of duplex and mild steel by a variation of the electromagnetic power level and the oscillation frequency.