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Characterization of monitor for laser welding.

Description: This patent-pending robust on-line weld process monitor developed by Argonne National Laboratory is capable of non-intrusively sensing weld surface changes, weld penetration, occurrence of weld spatter, direction of motion of workpiece relative to cover gas flow, and presence of surface impurities like oil on the workpiece. The development of the weld monitor took into account the constraints and operating environment of the factory floor in addition to monitoring needs for quality assurance. The non-intrusive weld monitor is rugged and simple to use, does not require power to operate, is weld spatter protected and low cost. This process monitor is available as a stand-alone monitor with laser pointing suitable as an inexpensive addition to an existing processing system. For constrained configurations, the monitor can be easily integrated into an existing optic module resulting in through-the-optic viewing. The stand-alone monitor's flexibility is suitable for test and evaluation or research and development applications where flexibility in pointing or change in optics is required. A photograph of the monitor is shown in Figure 1. The reproducibility of the monitor's signal output will depend on the accuracy and repeatability in aiming. Laser aiming that comes with the monitor offers the best overall accuracy and ease. Costs can be reduced further with conventional gunsights with loss in accuracy and ease. The reproducibility of the monitor's output will depend on the field of view, the aiming method and the capability to manually aim and lock in position. In practice, even with laser aiming, the accuracy will be compromised by the mechanical system used to allow for aiming adjustments. 10 to 20% changes may be result from using a flexible connector. Improved reproducibility can be obtained at the expense of time taken to aim accurately. The integrated version of the monitor is recommended for process operations. This integrated ...
Date: May 15, 2002
Creator: Leong, K. H. & Hunter, B. V
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Pulsed laser surface hardening of ferrous alloys.

Description: A high power pulsed Nd:YAG laser and special optics were used to produce surface hardening on 1045 steel and gray cast iron by varying the process parameters. Unlike CO{sub 2} lasers, where absorptive coatings are required, the higher absorptivity of ferrous alloys at the Nd:YAG laser wavelength eliminates the necessity of applying a coating before processing. Metallurgical analysis of the treated tracks showed that very fine and hard martensitic microstructure (1045 steel) or inhomogeneous martensite (gray cast iron) were obtained without surface melting, giving maximum hardness of HRC 61 and HRC 40 for 1045 steel and gray cast iron respectively. The corresponding maximum case depths for both alloys at the above hardness are 0.6 mm. Gray cast iron was more difficult to harden without surface melting because of its lower melting temperature and a significantly longer time-at-temperature required to diffuse carbon atoms from the graphite flakes into the austenite matrix during laser heating. The thermal distortion was characterized in term of flatness changes after surface hardening.
Date: September 30, 1999
Creator: Xu, Z.; Reed, C. B.; Leong, K. H. & Hunter, B. V.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Designing a fiber-optic beam delivery system

Description: One of the advantages offered by visible and NIR lasers over CO and CO{sub 2} lasers is that they can be delivered through optical fibers. Fiber-optic beam delivery is ideal when the beam must be delivered along a complex path or processing requires complicated manipulation of the beam delivery optics. Harnessing the power of a high-power laser requires that knowledgeable and prudent choices be made when selecting the laser and its beam delivery system. The purpose of this paper is to discuss a variety of issues important when designing a beam delivery system-data obtained with high power Nd:YAG lasers will be used as illustrative examples. (1) Multimode optical fibers are used for high-power applications. The fiber imposes, to varying degrees, a structure on the beam that is different from the laser output. Fibers degrade the beam quality, although the degree of degradation is dependent on the fiber length, diameter and type. Smaller fibers tend to produce less degradation to beam quality, but the minimum usable fiber size is limited by the quality of the laser beam, focusing optic and the numerical aperture of the fiber. (2) The performance of the beam delivery system is ultimately determined by the quality of the optics. Therefore, well-corrected optics are required to realize the best possible performance. Tests with both homogeneous and GRADIUM{trademark} lenses provide insights into evaluating the benefits offered by improvements in the output optics from gradient-index, aspheric and multi-element lens systems. Additionally, these tests illustrate the origins of variable focused spot size and position with increasing laser power. (3) The physical hardware used in the beam delivery system will have several characteristics which enhance its functionality and ease of use, in addition to facilitating the use of advanced diagnostics and monitoring techniques.
Date: March 1, 1997
Creator: Hunter, B.V.; Leong, K.H. & Sanders, P.G.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Selecting a high-power fiber-optic laser beam delivery system

Description: Multimode optical fibers enable efficient flexible laser beam delivery but at a loss in the quality of the delivered beam. The fiber-optic beam delivery system effectiveness is strengthened by the optimal selection of its components not only for minimizing beam quality degradation but also for robustness. Smaller fibers tend to produce less degradation to beam quality but the minimum usable fiber size is limited by the quality of the laser beam, focusing optic, and the numerical aperture of the fiber. Selection of appropriate fiber type is important because the characteristics of the output beam enhance or degrade the utility of the fiber-optic-delivered beam for different applications. The other components of the beam delivery system also impact performance. High-power handling requires high- quality fiber end-face finish and special connectors that can withstand back-reflections. Recent developments in optical materials allow manufacture of very low aberration optics useful for short focal length lenses in output optics. Harnessing the power of a high- power laser requires that knowledgeable and prudent choices be made when selecting the laser and its beam delivery system. We will focus on issues relevant to understanding and specifying a fiber-optic beam delivery system and provide guidelines for specifying a system. Data obtained with high power Nd:YAG lasers will be used as examples.
Date: October 1, 1996
Creator: Hunter, B.V.; Leong, K.H.; Miller, C.B.; Golden, J.F.; Glesias, R.D. & Laverty, P.J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Laser-based characterization and decontamination of contaminated facilities

Description: This study examines the application of laser ablation to the characterization and decontamination of painted and unpainted concrete and metal surfaces that are typical of many facilities within the US Department of Energy complex. The utility of this promising technology is reviewed and the essential requirements for efficient ablation extracted. Recent data obtained on the ablation of painted steel surfaces and concrete are presented. The affects of beam irradiance, ablation speed and efficiency, and characteristics of the aerosol effluent are discussed. Characterization of the ablated components of the surface offers the ability of concurrent determination of the level of contamination. This concept can be applied online where the ablation endpoint can be determined. A conceptual system for the characterization and decontamination of surfaces is proposed.
Date: December 31, 1996
Creator: Leong, K.H.; Hunter, B.V.; Grace, J.E.; Pellin, M.J.; Leidich, H.F. & Kugler, T.R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department