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Learn when you might choose one technology over the other in this blog piece: Nd:YAG for Fiber Laser Welding?
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A YAG laser is a laser in which the active gain medium is neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet.
Nd:YAG lasers are optically pumped using either a flashlamp or laser diode array. They are one of the most common types of laser, and are used for many different applications. They typically emit light with a wavelength of 1064 nm, but can be frequency doubled (532nm, green) or tripled (266nm, blue). Nd:YAG lasers operate in both pulsed and continuous wave (CW) mode. Pulsed Nd:YAG lasers are typically operated in a Q-switched mode.
Laser welding is a process which requires access to the weld zone from only one side of the parts being welded. The laser weld is formed as the intense laser light rapidly heats the material - typically calculated in milliseconds.
Three types of welds can be achieved with laser welding: conduction, conduction/penetration and penetration or 'keyhole.' Conduction welds are performed at low energy, resulting in wide, shallow weld nuggets. Conduction/penetration welds utilize a medium energy density and result in a deeper weld nugget. Penetration or keyhole welds are resultant of direct energy delivery into the material being welded resulting in deep, narrow nuggets.
As laser welding is a non-contact process, there are a great number of joint geometries that can be welded. The most significant requirement is that there be a close fit-up at the joint interfaces. Laser welders can join a wide range of steels, nickel alloys, titanium, aluminum, and copper. As with other joining technologies, some materials are difficult to laser weld unless they meet specific characteristics, namely, reflectivity, the effect of high thermal cycling, and the vaporization of volatile alloying elements.
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