During laser spot welding of many metals and alloys, the peak temperatures on the weld pool surface are very high and often exceed the boiling points of materials. In such situations, the equilibrium pressure on the weld pool surface is higher than the atmospheric pressure and the escaping vapour exerts a large recoil force on the weld pool surface. As a consequence, the molten metal may be expelled from the weld pool surface. The liquid metal expulsion has been examined both experimentally and theoretically for the laser spot welding of 304 stainless steel. The ejected metal droplets were collected on the inner surface of an open ended quartz tube which was mounted perpendicular to the sample surface and co-axial with the laser beam. The size range of the ejected particles was determined by examining the interior surface of the tube after the experiments. The temperature distribution, free surface profile of the weld pool and the initiation time for liquid metal expulsion were computed based on a three-dimensional transient heat transfer and fluid flow model. By comparing the vapour recoil force with the surface tension force at the periphery of the liquid pool, the model predicted whether liquid metal expulsion would take place under different welding conditions. Expulsion of the weld metal was also correlated with the depression of the liquid metal in the middle of the weld pool due to the recoil force of the vapourized material. Higher laser power density and longer pulse duration significantly increased liquid metal expulsion during spot welding.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Acoustics and Ultrasonics
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films