Vacuum laser beam welding enables deeper penetration depth and welding stability than atmospheric pressure laser welding. However, contaminated coupling glass caused by welding fumes in the vacuum space reduces laser transmittance, leading to inconsistent penetration depth. Therefore, a well-designed protective system is indispensable. Before designing the protective system, the contamination phenomenon was quantified and represented by a contamination index, based on the coupling glass transmittance. The contamination index and penetration depth behavior were determined to be inversely proportional. A cylindrical protective system with a shielding gas supply was proposed and tested. The shielding gas jet provides pressure-driven contaminant suppression and gas momentum-driven contaminant dispersion. The influence of the shielding gas flow rate and gas nozzle diameter on the performance of the protective system was evaluated. When the shielding gas flow was 2.0 L/min or higher, the pressure-driven contaminant suppression dominated for all nozzle diameters. When the shielding gas flow was 1.0 L/min or lower, gas momentum-driven contaminant dispersion was observed. A correlation between the gas nozzle diameter and the contamination index was determined. It was confirmed that contamination can be controlled by selecting the proper gas flow rate and supply nozzle diameter.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Computer Science Applications
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes