Product Code: JLA_14_4_230
Manufacturing Engineering Division, School of Mechanical and Production Engineering, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798
M. J. J. Schmidt
Laser Processing Research Centre, Manufacturing Division, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), Manchester M60 1QD, United Kingdom
R. E. Edwards
A. W. Gale
Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), Manchester M60 1QD, United Kingdom
As the field of laser materials processing becomes ever more diverse, the high power diode laser (HPDL) is now being regarded by many as the most applicable tool. The commercialization of an industrial epoxy grout removal and single-stage ceramic tile grout sealing process is examined through the development of a hand-held HPDL device in this work. Further, an appraisal of the potential hazards associated with the use of the HPDL in an industrial environment and the solutions implemented to ensure that the system complies with the relevant safety standards are given. The article describes the characteristics and feasibility of the industrial epoxy grout removal process. A minimum power density of approximately 3 kW/cm2 was found to exist, while the minimum interaction time, below which there was no removal of epoxy tile grout, was found to be approximately 0.5 s. The maximum theoretical removal rate that may be achievable was calculated as being 65.98 mm2/s for a circular 2 mm diameter beam with a power density of 3 kW/cm2 and a traverse speed of 42 mm/s. In addition, the characteristics of the single-stage ceramic tile grout sealing are outlined. The single-stage ceramic tile grout sealing process yielded crack and porosity free seals which were produced in normal atmospheric conditions. Tiles were successfully sealed with power densities as low as 550 W/cm2 and at rates of up to 420 mm/min. In terms of mechanical, physical, and chemical characteristics, the single-stage ceramic tile grout was found to be far superior to the conventional epoxy tile grout and, in many instances, matched and occasionally surpassed that of the ceramic tiles themselves. © 2002 Laser Institute of America.
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