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Title: Laser machining of carbon fibre reinforced polymer composite
Author: Salama, Adel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 3986
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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Carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites have found a wide range of applications in the aerospace, marine, sports and automotive industries owing to their lightweight and acceptable mechanical properties compared to the commonly used metallic materials. The currently dominating method of machining CFRP is by mechanical means that has found many problems including extensive tool wear, fibre pull-out and delamination. Lasers as non-contact tools have been widely applied for cutting and drilling materials. However, machining of CFRP composites using lasers can be challenging due to inhomogeneity in the material properties and structures, which can lead to thermal damage such as charring, heat affected zones (HAZs), resin recession and delamination. In previous studies, Nd:YAG, diode pumped solid state (DPSS), CO2 (continuous wave), disk and fibre lasers were used in machining CFRP composites and the control of damage such as the size of heat affected zones (HAZ) and achieving comparable material removal rate with the mechanical processes remain a challenge. Most reported work showed a typical heat affected zone of 0.2-1.2 mm. The availability of short pulsed transversely excited atmospheric (TEA) CO2 lasers and ultra-short laser pulse sources such as picosecond lasers make it possible to improve the laser machining quality of CFRP materials. In this research, the machining of CFRP composites using a microsecond pulsed TEA CO2 laser, a state of the art high power picosecond laser and a 1 kW single mode fibre laser system was investigated. The yielded heat affected zone was less than < 25 µm for the TEA CO2 and the picosecond laser machining, although the material removal rate was low. Additionally, it has been shown that the pulsed fibre laser improved the machining quality compared to that with the continuous mode. A potential application of the fibre laser for composite repair and remanufacturing was investigated. The interactions between picosecond laser beam and CFRP composite were studied in more detail including understanding the self-limiting effect in single and multiple parallel tracks drilling/machining through both experimental and theoretical studies. Furthermore, a sequential laser and mechanical drilling of CFRP was investigated to improve the machining rate. The work performed in this PhD was driven by aerospace industry needs, with the collaboration of Rolls-Royce plc and BAE Systems as industrial partners.
Supervisor: Li, Lin ; Mativenga, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Composite material ; CFRP ; Laser machining ; TEA CO2 laser ; picosecond laser ; Heat effected zone ; composite repair