Product Code: ICAL09_1101

Fiber Laser Assisted Machining of Silicon Nitride
Federico Sciammarella, Northern Illinois University; DeKalb IL USA
Michael Matusky, Northern Illinois University; Dekalb IL USA
Presented at ICALEO 2009

Laser Assisted Machining (LAM) of ceramics is an important area of research concerning the improvement upon conventional diamond grinding machining processes. The problems associated with the machinability of these advanced ceramic materials, specifically silicon nitride (Si3N4), have already lead to previous research work done with LAM. Utilizing the advent of high power fiber diode lasers, current research can now be completed outside the realm of traditional lasers such as CO2 and ND:YAG, allowing for the feasibility of industrial applications. The bulk machining of Si3N4 required the development of key parameters from past work, including the investigation into temperature distributions due to energy absorption. With this set of parameters achieved, optimal conditions can exist for the critical transformation of Si3N4 into the glassy phase, yielding a softer machinable surface. To demonstrate the advantages of LAM it is also required to illustrate the advantages over conventional machining, including the improvements into the surface roughness and improved cutting techniques. The current research into the benefits of LAM of ceramics allows for the process to be successfully implemented into industrial application with the goal to aid in the machining other hard materials.

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