We have investigated the influence of repetitive near-infrared (NIR) pulsed laser shots in the melting regime on the surface characteristics of an aluminum 6061-T6 alloy. Characteristics of interest include surface morphology, surface roughness, and surface hardness in the melted zone as well as the size of the melted zone. For this study, the proper pulse energy for inducing surface melting at one shot is selected using numerical simulations that calculate the variation in temperature at the laser beam spot for various input pulse energies in order to find the proper pulse energy for raising the temperature to the melting point. In this study, 130 mJ was selected as the input energy for a Nd:YAG laser pulse with a duration of 5 ns. The size of the melted zone measured using optical microscopy (OM) increased logarithmically with an increasing shot number. The surface morphology observed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) clearly showed a re-solidified microstructure evolution after surface melting. The surface roughness and hardness were measured by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and nano-indentation, respectively. The surface roughness showed almost no variation due to the surface texturing after laser shots over 10. The hardness inside the melted zone was lower than that outside the zone because the β″ phase was transformed to a β phase or dissolved into a matrix.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mechanics of Materials
- Mechanical Engineering