Aluminum presents great challenges in welding because of its physical properties, requiring the right balance between heat input and weld quality.

Ramiarison et al. propose a solution for providing enough heat using a laser to melt and fuse the material and uniformly distribute the heat to avoid damage due to high temperatures.

Laser is a concentration of energy that can be absorbed by a material when it is irradiated. The smaller the spot of the laser, the more concentrated its energy and the higher the temperature of the material. To address the issue, the authors used a very small laser spot size to obtain a concentrated heat energy and oscillated, or wobbled, the beam to enlarge its coverage in a circular path during the welding process.

The technique yields a satisfying, fully penetrated weld with negligible levels of, heat generated defects. Additionally, this method utilizes a low range of power but a high power-density laser due to small spot size, making it an economical way to weld aluminum with high quality.

The authors hope this method will open doors to a new, cost-effective and efficient approach for aluminum welding by using laser technology to employ a less powerful heat source. They play to promote the technique to the manufacturing industry.

As their next steps, the authors aim to focus on optimizing the technique by including additional welding parameters like the welding speed and the focal distance, and exploring other patterns, such as elliptic or infinity paths.

Source: “Weldability improvement by wobbling technique in high power density laser welding of two aluminum alloys: Al-5052 and Al-6061,” by H. Ramiarison, N. Barka, C. Pilcher, E. Stiles, G. Larrimore, and S. Amira, Journal of Laser Applications (2021). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.2351/7.0000353.