3D finite element analysis of evaporative laser cutting

Meung Jung Kim
*
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA
Received 1 June 2004; received in revised form 1 December 2004; accepted 8 February 2005
Available online 17 May 2005
Abstract
A three-dimensional computational model of evaporative laser-cutting process has been developed using
a finite element method. Steady heat transfer equation is used to model the laser-cutting process with a
moving laser. The laser is assumed continuous wave Gaussian beam. The finite element surfaces on eva-
poration side are nonplanar and approximated by bilinear polynomial surfaces. Semi-infinite elements
are introduced to approximate the semi-infinite domain. An iterative scheme is used to handle the geometric
nonlinearity due to the unknown groove shape. The convergence studies are performed for various meshes.
Numerical results about groove shapes and temperature distributions are presented and also compared with
those by semi-analytical methods.
Ó 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Finite element method; Evaporative laser cutting; Geometric nonlinearity; Groove shapes; Semi-infinite
elements
1. Introduction
The laser that was invented in 60s has found applications in many manufacturing processes pri-
marily due to its precision process and high intensity [1–3]. The quality of the laser cut is of the
utmost importance in laser processing because it would lead to an elimination of post-machining
operations. Any improvement in laser cut quality would be of considerable significance.
0307-904X/$ - see front matter Ó 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.apm.2005.02.015
*
Tel.: +1 815 753 9965/9979; fax: +1 815 753 0416.
E-mail address: kim@ceet.niu.edu
www.elsevier.com/locate/apm
Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
Nomenclature
Bi Biot number
c specific heat
h
ig
heat of sublimation
h convection heat transfer coefficient
^
i;
^
k unit vectors in the X- and Z-directions, respectively
I
0
laser power density at the center of the beam
k thermal conductivity
^n unit outward surface normal
N
e
evaporation parameter
N
k
conduction parameter
q
k
conduction heat flux
q
h
convection heat flux
q
ig
heat flux due to material evaporation
q
L
heat flux due to laser radiation
R
o
laser beam radius at the focal point
S(X, Y) groove depth
s(x, y) non-dimensional groove depth
S
1
final groove depth
T temperature
T
1
ambient temperature
T
evap
evaporation temperature
t non-dimensional time
u non-dimensional laser moving velocity
U moving specimen or laser velocity
x, y, z dimensionless spatial coordinates
X, Y, Z spatial coordinates
x
1
, x
2
, z
1
, z
2
nodal coordinates of an element
x
F
, y
F
, z
F
half the x, y, z-dimensions of the specimen
x
min
, x
max
starting and ending x-coordinates of melting region on the specimen
z
i
surface nodal z-coordinate at ith position
z
new
i
new surface nodal z-coordinate at ith position
z
new
i
; z
old
i
! z
actual
i
actual nodal z-coordinate for iterative computation
Greek letters
a
o
absorptivity
a thermal diffusivity
e convergence limit for temperature and position
1, g, n dimensionless spatial coordinates of a field point
q density
h dimensionless temperature
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 939
High intensity laser beam can be directed to a narrow region in order to instantly evaporate
material with very narrow heat affected zone. This ability to cut instantly with extremely narrow
laser beam distinguishes it from other cutting methods. The key to success in precision cut by laser
depends on many factors such as laser characteristics, material properties of the specimen, and
manufacturing parameters. In precision manufacturing the quality of the cut is often measured
based on the shape of the groove and amount of material removal. Therefore, better understand-
ing of the process and thereby the roles of various parameters are essential to successful applica-
tions of laser-cutting process.
There have been numerous investigations on laser applications. Some [4–8] investigated states
of stresses in fracture, chemical compositions and properties, and heat transfer on different types
of materials such as metals, composites, ceramics, and metallic glasses. Others [9–13] studied heat
treatment effects on the material by laser irradiation. Considerable researches [14–18] have been
done with heat transfer models on the effects of laser characteristics and material properties for
the quality of laser processes. Other researches [1,19–21] are also found about pulsed lasers, melt-
ing of thin films, and reflections.
As many applications need to take the melting into consideration, there are also many applica-
tions that rely on material evaporation such as cutting plastics and organic materials in medical
operations. In addition, the current method for evaporative cutting can be extended to include
melting pool in the future. This paper primarily focuses on the implementation of a three-dimen-
sional finite element method for the first time in order to predict the groove shapes in evaporative
laser cutting as an extension of the previous works by Kim et al. [22–25].
2. Mathematical formulation
A typical laser cutting installation is shown in Fig. 1. The typical processes involved in eva-
aporative laser cutting are thermal in nature. When a laser beam strikes a material surface, several
effects take place: reflection and absorption of the beam; conduction of heat into the material and
loss of heat by convection and/or radiation from the material surface. The amount of energy
absorbed and utilized in removing the material depends on the optical and thermo-physical pro-
perties of the material. The mathematical model describing the process of material removal from
the surface subjected to high intensity laser beam can be found in Modest and Abakians [17,20]
and Kim et al. [22–25].
It is assumed that there are three different regions on the surface subjected to laser beam as
shown in Fig. 2. Region I is too far from the laser to have reached evaporation temperature, re-
gion II is the area in which evaporation takes place, and region III is the region in which evapo-
ration has already taken place.
h
evap
dimensionless evaporation temperature (h
evap
= 1)
h
i,m
, h
i,m+1
dimensionless temperatures at nodes z
i,m
and z
i,m+1
k relaxation factor
s time
940 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
Following assumptions are also made in deriving the model:
(1) laser beam is of Gaussian type in a continuous mode,
(2) material moves at a constant relative velocity,
(3) material is isotropic and opaque with constant thermal and optical properties,
(4) material removal is a surface phenomenon and phase change from solid to vapor occurs in
one step,
(5) evaporated material is transparent and does not interfere with incident laser beam,
(6) heat losses by convection and radiation from the surfaces to the environment can be approxi-
mated by using a single constant convection coefficient.
Based on these assumptions, the mathematical statement of the problem can be written as
follows:
qcU
oT
oX
¼ k
o
2
T
oX
2
þ
o
2
T
oY
2
þ
o
2
T
oZ
2
_ _
ð1Þ
subjected to the boundary conditions at edges
^q
k
¼ ^q
h
at X ¼ ÆX
F
and Y ¼ ÆY
F
and T ¼ T
0
at Z ¼ Z
F
for a finite model ð2aÞ
Fig. 1. Typical laser installation.
Fig. 2. Energy balance on the surface subject to laser.
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 941
or
T ¼ T
0
at X ¼ Æ1; Y ¼ Æ1 and Z ¼ 1 for a semi-infinite model ð2bÞ
and the boundary condition on the surface subject to laser beam is obtained from the balance of
heat transfer on the surface as
^q
L
þ ^q
k
¼ ^q
h
þ ^q
ig
ð3Þ
where ^q
L
¼ Àa
o
I
o
ð
^
k Á ^nÞe
ÀðX
2
þY
2
Þ=R
2
; ^q
h
¼ hðT À T
1
Þ; ^q
k
¼ Àkð^n Á rTÞ; ^q
ig
¼ qh
ig

^
i Á ^nÞ;
^
i and
^
k are
unit vectors in the X- and Z-direction, respectively, and ^n is the normal outward unit vector to
surface. Here, qUð
^
i Á ^nÞ represents the rate of material removal when the specimen moves in neg-
ative X-direction with the speed U.
With the introduction of the dimensionless variables as follows
x ¼
X
R
o
; y ¼
Y
R
o
; z ¼
Z
R
o
; sðx; yÞ ¼
SðX; Y Þ
R
o
; h ¼
ðT À T
1
Þ
ðT
evap
À T
1
Þ
;
N
e
¼
qUh
ig
a
o
I
o
; N
k
¼
kðT
evap
À T
1
Þ
R
o
a
o
I
o
; Bi ¼
hR
o
k
; u ¼
UR
o
a
; a ¼
k
qc
ð4Þ
Eq. (1) and the boundary conditions (2) and (3) can be rewritten as:
u
oh
ox
¼
o
2
h
ox
2
þ
o
2
h
oy
2
þ
o
2
h
oz
2
ð5Þ
subjected to
q
k
¼ q
h
at x ¼ Æx
F
and y ¼ Æy
F
and h ¼ h
0
at z ¼ z
F
for a finite model ð6aÞ
or
h ¼ h
1
at x ¼ Æ1; y ¼ Æ1 and z ¼ þ1 ð6bÞ
and on the surface subject to laser
Region I: z = 0, Àx
F
< x < x
min
N
k
Bih À
oh
oz
_ _
¼ e
Àðx
2
þy
2
Þ
ð7Þ
Region II: z = s(x, y), x
min
< x < x
max
h ¼ 1; N
e
os
ox
¼ e
Àðx
2
þy
2
Þ
À N
k
Bih À
oh
oz
_ _
1 þ
os
ox
_ _
2
þ
os
oy
_ _
2
_ _
1=2
ð8Þ
Region III: z = s
1
, x
max
< x < x
F
N
k
Bih À
oh
oz
_ _
1 þ
os
1
ox
_ _
2
_ _
1=2
¼ e
Àðx
2
þy
2
Þ
ð9Þ
Here Bi is the Biot number representing the ratio of convection to conduction heat losses. u rep-
resents the ratio of relative speed of the work specimen to the thermal diffusivity of the material.
942 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
N
e
is the ratio of energy utilized in evaporation of material and the absorbed laser energy while N
k
represents the approximate ratio of conduction losses to the absorbed laser energy.
The convection boundary condition in Eq. (2a) is now expressed in dimensionless form as
q
k
¼ Biðh À h
1
Þ ð10Þ
The conduction term in Eq. (3) can now be expressed in terms of others in dimensionless form
q
k
¼
e
Àx
2
N
k
ð
^
k Á ^nÞ þ Biðh À h
1
Þ þ
N
e
N
k
ð
^
i Á ^nÞ ð11Þ
Note that the regions I and III are subsets of region II and all regions can be handled by one type
of region II in actual analysis.
3. Finite element formulation
The variational formulation of the governing equation by weighted residual method leads to an
integral form
0 ¼
_
X
u
oh
ox
À
o
2
h
ox
2
À
o
2
h
oz
2
_ _
dhdX
¼
_
X
u
oh
ox
dh À
oh
ox
odh
ox
À
oh
oz
odh
oz
_ _
dX À
_
C
n
x
oh
ox
þ n
z
oh
oz
_ _
dhdC
¼
_
X
u
oh
ox
dh À
oh
ox
odh
ox
À
oh
oz
odh
oz
_ _
dX þ
_
C
q
k
dhdC ð12Þ
where X and C represent the domain and the boundary, respectively.
The finite element formulation is obtained from this weak form of the variational formulation
by introducing the shape functions /
j
(x, z) with nodal values h
j
on an elemental domain as
K
ðeÞ
ij
_ _
fh
j
g ¼ fF
ðeÞ
i
g ð13Þ
where
K
ðeÞ
ij
¼
_
X
e
U/
i
o/
j
ox
þ
o/
i
ox
o/
j
ox
þ
o/
i
oz
o/
j
oz
_ _
dX À
_
C
e
Bi/
i
/
j
ds; i; j ¼ 1; 2; . . . ; N
F
ðeÞ
i
¼ À
_
C
e
q
k
/
i
ds
Here X
e
and C
e
represent elemental domain and boundary. The dimensionless temperature h(x, z)
is approximated by nodal values of temperature and shape functions as
hðx; zÞ ¼

N
j¼1
h
j
/
j
ðx; zÞ ð14Þ
and N is the number of node per element.
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 943
By assembling the elemental finite element formulation the global finite element model of the
problem can now be written as
½KŠfhg ¼ fF g ð15Þ
where [K] and {F} are known matrices and {h} is the unknown column vector.
4. Computational methods
The governing equation is easier to express with moving specimen for the fixed frame to laser,
but it is also easier to numerically implement with the moving laser for the fixed specimen. They
are equivalent except the viewpoint and thus, in the present analysis the laser is handled as a mov-
ing source in positive X-direction with fixed specimen for easiness of numerical implementation
below.
Since the geometry (i.e., groove shape) is not known beforehand, computation begins with an
assumed domain, which is the original shape of the specimen at the beginning. Once the temper-
ature is calculated for the given domain, the nodal values of the surface temperatures in region II
are examined if the boundary conditions in Eq. (8) are satisfied. If the temperature at any node is
greater than the evaporation temperature, then the material at that node should have melted.
In this paper a simple but effective linear interpolation as described in [24] and repeated below is
used for the new position of a node. This simple scheme substantially reduces the computational
time
z
new
i
¼ z
i
þ
z
i
À z
bottom
h
i
À h
bottom
ðh
i
À h
evap
Þ ð16Þ
Once z
new
i
is computed at node i, actual new value for next iteration is relaxed by
z
actual
i
¼ ð1 À kÞz
old
i
þ kz
new
i
ð17Þ
where k is a relaxation factor used to suppress oscillation in iteration. This new value, z
actual
i
, is
used to obtain a new domain.
Since the nodes are moved in z-direction independently to simulate the material removal when
the temperatures are greater than the melting temperature, the four surface nodes may not be pla-
nar and the surface integral due to the laser irradiation cannot be evaluated based on the planar
assumption. Thus, the elemental surface with four nodes is approximated by a bilinear polynomial
function as
zðx; yÞ ¼ a
0
þ a
1
x þ a
2
y þ a
3
xy ð18Þ
where the coefficients a
i
Õs can be obtained by imposing continuity conditions at four nodes as
z
1
z
2
z
3
z
4
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
¼
1 x
1
y
1
x
1
y
1
1 x
2
y
2
x
2
y
2
1 x
3
y
3
x
3
y
3
1 x
4
y
4
x
4
y
4
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
a
0
a
1
a
2
a
3
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
ð19Þ
Here, z
i
Õs are nodal z-coordinates given by z
i
= z(x
i
, y
i
).
944 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
The region III where material has been removed is implemented by extending the maximum
groove depths in the region II.
Once the new shape of the domain is computed, the iteration continues until the relative sums
of squared errors for both nodal temperatures and positions fall below a prescribed tolerance, e.
E
temp
¼

N
j¼1
ðh
new
j
À h
old
j
Þ
2

N
j¼1
ðh
new
j
Þ
2
_ _ _
1=2
ð20Þ
E
pos
¼

N
j¼1
ðz
new
j
À z
old
j
Þ
2

N
j¼1
ðz
new
j
Þ
2
_ _ _
1=2
ð21Þ
Here N is the number of nodes in the domain.
Even after the converged solution is obtained by iteration, it is possible that the temperature at
a node has a value below the evaporation temperature but moved to a new position during iter-
ation. If this happens, the node should be moved back to the original position and the iteration
resumes. This causes numerical difficulty of unstable oscillation of errors during iteration.
5. Numerical results and discussion
First, the three-dimensional results have been compared to two-dimensional results of previous
works for various cases in Fig. 3. The dimensionless parameters for these cases with various
speeds of laser are
Bi ¼ 0.0001; N
e
¼ 0.001; N
k
¼ 0.4 ð22Þ
and the dimensions of the specimen are
Æx
F
¼ 8; Æy
F
¼ 8; z
F
¼ 2.5 ð23Þ
These values are chosen to roughly represent the specimen made of typical Aluminum cut by laser
power of 1 kW with the beam focal radius of 0.1 mm that is subjected to natural convection by
air. In this case the speed of laser beam in 1 m/s is converted to the dimensionless speed of 1 [25].
Fig. 3. Maximum groove depths of various cases in two- and three-dimensional cases.
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 945
The error criteria are
e ¼ 0.01% for position error ð24aÞ
e ¼ 0.1% for temperature error ð24bÞ
The boundary conditions are given by Eq. (6a) and the laser is positioned at the center of the
specimen.
Fig. 3 shows the maximum groove depths against the laser velocity. Both two- and three-dimen-
sional results converge with refined meshes, but the three-dimensional cases converge much faster
than two-dimensional cases. The two-dimensional cases 40 · 5 and 80 · 5 or three-dimensional
cases 40 · 40 · 5 and 80 · 80 · 5 meshes are very close and indistinguishable in the figure. It is
noted that the values of the maximum groove depths of three-dimensional cases are approxi-
mately half of those in two-dimensional cases. This may be expected from the heat transfer to
the third direction (positive and negative y directions) in three-dimensional cases that is absent
in two-dimensional cases as illustrated in Fig. 4 (not to show actual direction of heat transfer that
is normal to the surface).
Also, the effect of number of Gauss integration points on maximum groove depths has been
investigated for domain and surface integrals in (13). It was found (not shown here) that fine mesh
of 40 · 40 · 5 and the minimum number of integration points, two, are good enough for numer-
ically converged results.
The second case considered deals with a semi-infinite body with the following parameters.
U ¼ 1; Bi ¼ 0.0001; N
e
¼ 0.01; N
k
¼ 0.1–0.005 ð25Þ
The semi-infinite elements used in this analysis are given in Appendix A. The boundary conditions
are given by Eq. (6b). The effect of domain size and the mesh on maximum groove depths has
been investigated. In computation, symmetry about x–z plane has been utilized in three-dimen-
sional analyses.
Table 1 shows two-dimensional results on the maximum groove depths as the mesh is refined
and the domain is increased proportionally. The mesh of 20 · 15 elements in 2D with the domain
size of 32 · 50 can be taken as converged results. Further, the result for domain sizes of 16 · 50
(not shown here) has been computed that is very close to the result for the case of 32 · 50. This
suggests that the domain size L
x
= 16 is good enough for accurate results.
x
y
z
Fig. 4. Heat transfer in three directions at the cutting front.
946 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
Table 2 shows three-dimensional maximum groove depths as the mesh is doubled from left to
right and the domain is increased proportionally to check the convergence with location of semi-
infinite elements. Also, the number of elements in x- and y-directions from top to bottom shows
the convergence. The mesh of 20 · 10 · 15 elements with the domain size of 32 · 16 · 50 yields
reasonably converged results for this case. The values with * show very close results to preceding
values indicating that domain size of L
x
· L
y
= 32 · 16 is good enough for semi-infinite dimen-
sions in x- and y-directions. Modest et al. [17] predicted the max groove depth of roughly 10 in
their semi-analytical analysis that is higher than the current numerical results.
In Fig. 5 the max groove depths and temperature errors are shown during the iteration as well
as the convergence in the error domain. In Fig. 6 the groove shape and temperature distribution
with the half domain for the case 40 · 20 · 15 mesh in Table 2 are shown. Figs. 5(e) and 6(c) show
that the temperature is more closely distributed in front of the moving laser showing the Doppler
effect due to the moving source. It is interesting to see the caved-in contour plot at the bottom of
the groove on the laser receding side. This suggests that the groove bottom cools down faster than
the side surfaces.
Further, the effect of number of integration points on maximum groove depths was also inves-
tigated for semi-infinite elements (not shown here). The results suggest that the specimen size of 16
and 8 in x- and y-directions is good for semi-infinite elements with two integration points. And
consequently these values are used in the current analyses.
Table 3 shows the case with N
k
= 0.01. The convergence can be observed with 40 · 20 · 15
mesh. The present numerical results for maximum groove depth predict smaller value than the
value 80 by Modest et al. [17].
Figs. 7 and 8 show typical changes of maximum groove depths, temperature and position
errors, the temperature distribution, and the groove shape for the case of mesh 40 · 20 · 60 in
Table 2
Effects of mesh and size of specimen on maximum groove depths with U = 1, Bi = 10
À4
, N
e
= 10
À2
, N
k
= 0.1
3D L
x
· L
y
· L
z
16 · 8 · 25 32 · 16 · 50 64 · 32 · 100
Starting N
x
· N
y
· N
z
10 · 5 · 15 7.61915 7.38836 7.30045
7.38839
*
7.30045
*
20 · 10 · 15 6.01683 5.765111 5.74619
*
40 · 20 · 15 5.80948 5.765111
*
*
The values are computed only increasing z-dimension from the preceding cases.
Table 1
Effects of mesh and size of specimen on maximum groove depths with U = 1, Bi = 10
À4
, N
e
= 10
À2
, N
k
= 0.1
2D L
x
· L
z
16 · 25 32 · 50 64 · 100 128 · 200
N
x
· N
z
10 · 15 24.75272 21.52166 20.55286 20.22619
21.52356
*
20 · 15 14.55105 14.43881 14.39967
40 · 15 14.69527 14.43894
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 947
Fig. 5. (a) Maximum groove depth with iteration, (b) temperature error with iteration, (c) convergence behavior in
error domain, (d) mid-plane groove shapes with iteration, and (e) mid-plane surface temperatures with iteration for the
case of mesh 40 · 20 · 15 in Table 2.
Fig. 6. (a) 3D Groove shape and (b) 3D temperature distribution, (c) temperature contour plot on the groove surface
(top view), and (d) heat flux in the mid-plane (at y = 0) for half domain for the case of mesh 40 · 20 · 15 in Table 2.
948 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
Table 3. It is observed that the heat affected zone stretches far down from the laser with smaller
conductivity of the material.
In the following the sectional shapes of the groove are also presented. These shapes also com-
pare well with those by Modest et al. [17] except the maximum groove depth. Here it is noted that
Fig. 9(b) shows the backward groove depth for laser motion than forward groove for the moving
specimen. A preliminary study with unsteady model (not shown here) shows forward groove with
shallower depth in both cases of moving laser and moving specimen.
Final case with N
k
= 0.005 has been also studied and presented in Table 4 and Fig. 10. The con-
verged results can be taken for the mesh 20 · 10 · 15 with domain size 32 · 16 · 400. The present
Table 3
Effects of mesh and size of specimen on maximum groove depths with U = 1, Bi = 10
À4
, N
e
= 10
À2
, N
k
= 0.01
3D L
x
· L
y
· L
z
16 · 8 · 200 32 · 16 · 400 64 · 32 · 800
N
x
· N
y
· N
z
10 · 5 · 15 69.19937 66.09498 64.97447
66.09512
*
64.97447
*
20 · 10 · 15 47.52265 47.25097
40 · 20 · 15 47.67044
*
The values in the table are computed only increasing z-dimension from the preceding cases.
Fig. 7. (a) Maximum groove depth with iteration, (b) temperature error with iteration, and (c) convergence behavior in
error domain, (d) mid-plane groove shapes with iteration, and (e) mid-plane surface temperatures with iteration for the
case of mesh 40 · 20 · 15 in Table 3.
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 949
numerical result for maximum groove depth predicts much smaller value that of 120 by Modest
et al. [17] consistently. With the decrease of the conductivity most heat flux occurs along the laser
motion horizontally.
Fig. 8. (a) Groove shape and (b) temperature distribution, (c) temperature contour plot on the groove surface (top
view), and (d) heat flux in the mid-plane (at y = 0) for half domain in the case of mesh 40 · 20 · 15 in Table 3.
Fig. 9. Groove section shapes (a) perpendicular to laser motion and (b) in the direction of laser motion for the case
40 · 20 · 15 in Table 3.
Table 4
Effects of mesh and size of specimen on maximum groove depths with U = 1, Bi = 10
À4
, N
e
= 10
À2
, N
k
= 0.005
3D L
x
· L
y
· L
z
16 · 8 · 300 32 · 16 · 400 64 · 32 · 800
N
x
· N
y
· N
z
10 · 5 · 15 125.77696 123.57431 118.57616
123.57510
*
118.57482
*
20 · 0 · 15 74.76116 74.90197
74.66565
*
40 · 20 · 15 75.49031
*
The values are computed with same dimensions except doubled z-dimension.
950 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
Fig. 10. (a) Maximum groove depth with iteration, (b) temperature error with iteration, (c) error behavior in error
domain, (d) groove shapes during iteration at mid-section (y = 0), (e) mid-section surface temperatures during iteration,
(f) 3D groove shape, (g) 3D surface temperature, (h) temperature contour plot on the groove surface (top view), (i) mid-
section heat fluxes, (j) groove section shape in the direction of laser motion, and (k) groove section perpendicular to the
laser motion for the case of mesh 40 · 20 · 15 in Table 4.
M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954 951
Fig. 10 shows similar behaviors of max groove depth with iteration as well as the groove shape
and temperature distribution to the previous cases.
6. Conclusions
A three-dimensional finite element model has been developed to analyze the evaporative laser-
cutting process based on steady heat conduction equation with constant laser velocity. The laser
intensity is assumed to be sufficiently high to cause direct evaporation of the material from the
surface of the medium. The laser side elemental surface is approximated by semi-quadratic poly-
nomial function. Parametric study shows that the numerical results converge with the mesh refine-
ment. The predicted groove shapes for a semi-infinite domain well compare with semi-analytical
results by others except the max groove depths. The present analyses without any limiting
assumptions predict smaller maximum groove depths than semi-analytical results. The tempera-
ture distributions show the heat-affected zone is not really limited close to the laser position.
The Doppler effect is observed for a moving laser. The steady-state analyses show the backward
groove shapes than forward ones in real laser-cutting process. The geometric nonlinearity due to
the unknown groove shape has led to an iterative scheme that sometimes resulted in unstable
oscillations during iterations.
Appendix A
For eight node linear element (Fig. A.1), assuming that the element extends to infinity along z-
direction the coordinates can be expressed as
x ¼

4
j¼1
x
j
M
j
; y ¼

4
j¼1
y
j
M
j
; z ¼

4
j¼1
z
j
M
j
ðA:1Þ
where the mapping functions for coordinates are
M
1
¼
1 À n
2
1 À g
2
2
1 À 1
; M
2
¼
1 þ n
2
1 À g
2
2
1 À 1
;
M
3
¼
1 þ n
2
1 þ g
2
2
1 À 1
; M
4
¼
1 À n
2
1 þ g
2
2
1 À 1
ðA:2Þ
and the shape functions for field variable are standard linear shape functions.
4
5

2
6
ξ
ζ
1 8
3
η
7
Fig. A.1. Natural coordinates of a semiinfinite element.
952 M.J. Kim / Applied Mathematical Modelling 29 (2005) 938–954
The Jacobian J in finite element formulation then becomes
J ¼
ox
on
oy
on
oz
on
ox
og
oy
og
oz
og
ox
o1
oy
o1
oz
o1
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
¼

4
j¼1
oM
j
on
x
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
on
y
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
on
z
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
og
x
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
og
y
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
og
z
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
o1
x
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
o1
y
j

4
j¼1
oM
j
o1
z
j
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
_
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
¸
_
ðA:3Þ
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