International Science Index


Development of a Water-Jet Assisted Underwater Laser Cutting Process

Abstract:We present the development of a new underwater laser cutting process in which a water-jet has been used along with the laser beam to remove the molten material through kerf. The conventional underwater laser cutting usually utilizes a high pressure gas jet along with laser beam to create a dry condition in the cutting zone and also to eject out the molten material. This causes a lot of gas bubbles and turbulence in water, and produces aerosols and waste gas. This may cause contamination in the surrounding atmosphere while cutting radioactive components like burnt nuclear fuel. The water-jet assisted underwater laser cutting process produces much less turbulence and aerosols in the atmosphere. Some amount of water vapor bubbles is formed at the laser-metal-water interface; however, they tend to condense as they rise up through the surrounding water. We present the design and development of a water-jet assisted underwater laser cutting head and the parametric study of the cutting of AISI 304 stainless steel sheets with a 2 kW CW fiber laser. The cutting performance is similar to that of the gas assist laser cutting; however, the process efficiency is reduced due to heat convection by water-jet and laser beam scattering by vapor. This process may be attractive for underwater cutting of nuclear reactor components.
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