Using wire shaping techniques and holographic optics to optimise deposition characteristics in wire-based laser cladding
In laser cladding, the potential benefits of wire feeding are considerable. Typical problems with the use of powder, such as gas entrapment, sub-100% material density and low deposition rate are all avoided with the use of wire. However, the use of a powder-based source material is the industry standard, with wire-based deposition generally regarded as an academic curiosity. This is because, although wire-based methods have been shown to be capable of superior quality results, the wire-based process is more difficult to control. In this work, the potential for wire shaping techniques, combined with existing holographic optical element knowledge, is investigated in order to further improve the processing characteristics. Experiments with pre-placed wire showed the ability of shaped wire to provide uniformity of wire melting compared with standard round wire, giving reduced power density requirements and superior control of clad track dilution. When feeding with flat wire, the resulting clad tracks showed a greater level of quality consistency and became less sensitive to alterations in processing conditions. In addition, a 22% increase in deposition rate was achieved. Stacking of multiple layers demonstrated the ability to create fully dense, three-dimensional structures, with directional metallurgical grain growth and uniform chemical structure.
This research has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in the UK, via a research student scholarship grant, and carried out as part of the activities of the Optical Engineering Research Group of Loughborough University.
- Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering