Yung C Shin, PhD, FSME
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Laser-assisted (LAM) machining has emerged as a promising technique for improving machinability and reducing the cost of composites materials. In LAM, a laser provides an intense localized heat source to the workpiece just prior to the cutting region. Fine control of the local temperature is possible by adjusting various parameters such as rotational (lathe) or translational (mill) speed, spot size, and laser power. The higher temperatures created by the laser lead to a reduction in strength in the heated regions and an increased machinability. This increased machinability leads to rapid material removal, the ability to machine complex shapes, and a high-quality surface finish with little or no thermal-related damage. This presentation highlights some of the key developments in laser-assisted machining as applied to polymeric and metal matrix composites. It is also shown how LAM can improve the subsurface integrity by reducing the delamination and debonding of reinforcements from the matrix. Presented at: Composites Manufacturing 2012, SME, March 13-15, 2012, Mesa. AZ.