Bulk-Explosion-Induced Metal Spattering during Laser Processing

Cang Zhao, Qilin Guo, Xuxiao Li, Niranjan Parab, Kamel Fezzaa, Wenda Tan, Lianyi Chen, Tao Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Spattering has been a problem in metal processing involving high-power lasers, like laser welding, machining, and recently, additive manufacturing. Limited by the capabilities of in situ diagnostic techniques, typically imaging with visible light or laboratory x-ray sources, a comprehensive understanding of the laser-spattering phenomenon, particularly the extremely fast spatters, has not been achieved yet. Here, using MHz single-pulse synchrotron-x-ray imaging, we probe the spattering behavior of Ti-6Al-4V with micrometer spatial resolution and subnanosecond temporal resolution. Combining direct experimental observations, quantitative image analysis, as well as numerical simulations, our study unravels a novel mechanism of laser spattering: The bulk explosion of a tonguelike protrusion forming on the front keyhole wall leads to the ligamentation of molten metal at the keyhole rims and the subsequent spattering. Our study confirms the critical role of melt and vapor flow in the laser-spattering process and opens a door to manufacturing spatter- and defect-free metal parts via precise control of keyhole dynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021052
JournalPhysical Review X
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 14 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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