CO2 Laser Cutting by Dr John Powell DSc, DIC, CEng, CPhys (auth.)

By Dr John Powell DSc, DIC, CEng, CPhys (auth.)

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These fast flow lasers also incorporate high power pumps (roots blowers) which increase the amount of vibration in the system, another source of mode corruption. One great advantage of the fast flow system is the increase in power per unit volume of laser cavity. This cooling system is much more efficient than the rather tranquil conduction-convection mechanism which governs slow flow machines and this has enabled designers to achieve much higher powers from smaller laser machines. 5 kW whereas fast flow machines are available in powers up to tens of kilowatts.

Naturally this "equivalence" breaks down if it is taken beyond certain limits as only certain combinations of laser power, density, oxygen flow and process speed can achieve a cut. The factors governing these combinations can be more easily understood if the major input parameters are discussed separately. The Laser Power Density. The laser power density is a function of the overall laser power and the size of the focused laser spot. These two variables can be discussed separately. Laser power.

The mechanical force of the oxygen jet drives the melt out of the cut zone. This mechanism is obviously necessary to the cutting process but is in fact both an energy input and output as far as the cutting zone is concerned. The mechanical energy taken from the oxygen jet is, of course, an input, but this is far outweighed by the energy output associated with the removal of the highly energetic melt. It will be seen later that this energy input-output balance is responsible for the fact that too much or too little oxygen flow can both cause unwanted burning.

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