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Interaction of a high-power laser beam with metal sheets

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7 Author(s)
Boley, C.D. ; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California 94551, USA ; Cutter, K.P. ; Fochs, S.N. ; Pax, P.H.
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Experiments with a high-power laser beam directed onto thin aluminum sheets, with a large spot size, demonstrate that airflow produces a strong enhancement of the interaction. The enhancement is explained in terms of aerodynamic effects. As laser heating softens the material, the airflow-induced pressure difference between front and rear faces causes the metal to bulge into the beam. The resulting shear stresses rupture the material and remove it at temperatures well below the melting point. The material heating is shown to conform to an elementary model. We present an analytic model of elastic bulging. Scaling with respect to spot size, wind speed, and material parameters is determined.

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Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:107 ,  Issue: 4 )