Product Code: JLA_14_1_9

M. Boutinguiza
F. Lusquin˜os
J. Pou
R. Soto
F. Quintero
M. Pe´rez-Amor
Departamento Fı´sica Aplicada Universidade de Vigo, Lagoas Marcosende 9, E-36200 VIGO, Spain

K. Watkins
Laser Engineering Group, Department of Engineering, The University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GH, United Kingdom

Slate is a natural stone which has the characteristic that shows a well-developed defoliation plane, allowing to easily split it in plates parallel to that plane which are particularly used as tiles for roof building. At present, the manufacturing of slate is mostly manual, being noisy, powdery, and unsafe for the worker. Thus, there is a need to introduce new processing methods in order to improve both the working conditions and the quality of the products made of slate. Following previous work that focused on the drilling and cutting of slate tiles using a Nd:YAG laser, we present in this article the results of the work carried out to explore the possibilities to cut slate plates by using a CO2 laser. A 1.5 kW CO2 laser was used to perform different experiments in which the influence of some processing parameters (average power, assist gas pressure) on the geometry and quality of the cut was studied. The results obtained show that the CO2 laser is a feasible tool for successful cutting of slate. © 2002 Laser Institute of America.

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