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surface science
ELSEVIER Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175

Heat transfer analysis o f laser heated surfaces - conduction
limited case
B.S. Yilbas *, S.Z. Shuja
Mechanical Engineering Department, KFUPM, P.O. Box 1913, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
Received 12 February 1996; accepted4 June 1996


The laser surface heat treatment technique is widely spread in industry for the treatment of the engineering parts. To
improve the heat treatment process, study of the heat transfer mechanism appropriate to the laser heating is necessary. The
present study develops an analytical solution to the laser heating process using the Fourier heat conduction model. The
temperature distribution inside the substance together with its variations in the direction perpendicular to surface are
predicted. The validity of the Fourier theory in laser heating is also discussed. To validate the theoretical predictions, the
measurement of surface temperature is carried out. The study is extended to include the effect of the laser output pulse

1. Introduction impurities and defect structures. The mean free colli-
sion time in this energy transfer process is of the
Lasers are widely used as a machine tool to order of 10 -12 to 10 -14 s [2]. During the time in
modify the surface of the engineering materials. This which laser machining pulses ( = 10 -6 s) and Q-
is due to the attainment of the high heating and switched pulses (-~ 10 -9 s) take place, the absorbing
cooling rates through a rapid precision heating pro- electrons have sufficient time to undergo many colli-
cess. However, the laser heating process is governed sions. This leads to the first assumption to be consid-
by the absorption mechanism. The absorption of the ered, i.e. the laser energy is instantaneously con-
laser energy takes place through photon interaction verted to heat at the point at which absorption took
with bound and free electrons in the material struc- place. The further assumptions of local equilibrium
ture, whereby these electrons are raised to higher and the validity of the concept of local temperature
energy levels [1]. The further conversion of this follow, thereby allowing a conventional heat transfer
energy takes place through various collision pro- analysis to be made. It has b e e n shown previously
cesses involving electrons, lattice phonons, ionized that the room temperature absorptivity of metals, i.e.
the fraction of the incident beam energy absorbed,
appears to be low and the effective absorptivity
under intense radiation appears to increase substan-
tially [3]. The formation of oxidation on the surface
* Corresponding author. reduces the reflectivity considerably [3].

0169-4332/97/$17.00 Copyright © 1997 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
PII S0169-4332(96)00570-3

11] com- irradiation. time modulate laser beam had little influence on the laser heat treatment of material surfaces is a conduc.e. The thermal effect of the graphite phase in cooling rates and. They identified the instantaneous the modelling can reduce substantially the time re.168 B. correlation between hardness and laser process pa. it is layer system is studied by E1-Adawi et al. Diniz. since laser heating is of commercial interest almost of the same size as the original Gaussian because of its ability to alter with accuracy the beam and did not depend on the incident laser power properties of very localized surface regions without and the substrate properties. ture distribution induced by a Gaussian-shaped laser On the other hand. scale up. but left the prediction of cooling and ing the most effecting parameters and developed a heating rates during the pulse heating. model developed to the metals heated by a pulsed cluded that corrosion properties improve consider. Osawa et al. distance ( x 6 ) increased. apply when the machining processes are conduction Analysis of heat conduction in deep penetration limited and non-conducting limited respectively. welding with a time-modulated laser beam was in- material removal rates due to evaporation are consid. the present rameters. They discussed the applicability of the sion of anstenitic stainless steel. laser source by a Dirac function and showed that the quired for process optimization. Analytical ties improved considerably when treated by a laser solutions are attempted to determine the heating and beam. heat transfer model for a step pulse input. Laser heating of a two- reprocessing the material as a whole. Neto and Lima [16] On the experimental side. Nd:YAG laser irradiation of steel substrate. heating process.S. that the square shape of the temperature profile was tant. in determin. They conducted a parametric study. vestigated by Simon et al. The results revealed the mechanical as well as chemical properties of the that the melting time strongly depended on the film surface treated that matters. resulting heat affected zone. It should be noted that and Chaudhry [15]. Since the Although a number of conduction based heat Nd:YAG laser output pulse length is limited. considerable work has computed the temperature profiles inside the sub- been carded out to improve the surface properties of stance subjected to high intensity and short pulse engineering metals. Heat conduction in a semi-in- physical process can yield much insight into the finite solid when subjected to a spatially decaying phenomena occurring within the region activated by instantaneous laser source was investigated by Zubair the high-power laser beam. They have con. Laser pulse heating for the conduc- ably after the laser heat treatment process~ Thermal tion limited process was investigated by Yilbas [17] and microstructural analysis for laser surface harden. i. [12]. who demonstrated that pulse frequencies of the order ing of steel was carried out by Toyol and Mukherjee of 1 kHz were needed for the integration of the [5]. Square-shaped tempera- tion limited process. conduction effect was dominant as the dimensionless trol. Yilbas. The terms low and high are relative and pare the simulation results directly with experiments. He demonstrated that the theoretical predictions an experiment is con- the graphite phase could not play the role as a ducted to measure the surface temperature rise due to thermal sink during the laser heating process. He the surface and inside the material using a Fourier showed that the properties of the engine parts proper. Con. However. equation. modelling the thermal properties. Nd:YAG laser. He demonstrated governing the laser processing is extremely impor. and con. later. In general. it is the change of the microstructures and glass substance was computed. the heat transfer mechanism beam was investigated by Lu [13]. [14] using this scale of operation which makes in-situ accurate the Laplace integral transformed method. To validate surface treatment technique.&Z Shuja /Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175 Two regimes are of interest in laser machining of transfer models for laser surface treatment have been materials which correspond to low and high intensity presented previously [8-10] only a few [10. Li [6] investigated the application of laser study is carried out to predict the temperature rise at surface modification techniques for engine parts. three . Therefore. The time predictions of the process variables so difficult. non-dimensional empirical cast iron was investigated by Liu [7] using a laser equations are developed in this regard. [4] studied the length laser irradiation using 3D heat conduction effect of laser heat treatment on intergranular corro. . They showed that the ered in the non-conduction limited case. In the light of the above arguments. required for the melting of thin films situated on the sequently.

k c~ at (3) o.f-~ exp( .S. (2) assumes constant thermal properties as well as a constant absorption coefficient. (b) Actual laser output pulse monitored during experiment. 0 0.2 Time (gs} The solution of Eq. (x Xeffc 2 f ~ .2#s/div) Xerfc + ~ g exp( ozS2t .SX) 2. 0 = . B. 0) = 0.2 0. which in turn initiates the conduction heat transfer. ) 1 + ~-g exp( o¢•2t q. (3) becomes visible in the laser output power Laplace domain.. with the boundary conditions: o a-~x-xTx=0 = 0.x 2) . (a) A typical laser output pulse used in the theory. .8 1 1.R . It should be noted that Eq.6 x ) [ 1 .exp( oz620] 1 (4) The absorption of an incident laser beam energy results in an increase of the internal energy of the where substance.x e r f c ( x ) length [18]. 6f~.- Time (0. . 6x) Fig. 2 f ~ _~2 propriate to laser heating can be written as: erfc(x) = ~ Jx e dr/ knowing that ~x2]+AIotexp(-tx)=pCp(~t) (2) where A is the absorption coefficient factor of the i e r f c ( x ) = f : e r f c ~ d~ substance and A = 1 . .6x) (1) + ~ 2 exp( .6 0. Yilbas. it results: I!= laser head current r(x.S. 1. Analytical solution to the conduction heat transfer process X The energy supplied to a material in laser machin- ing is absorbed in the surface region according to Lambert's law: I = I 0 exp( . For most of the engineering materials the absorption 1 factor is almost unity for the Nd:YAG laser wave. . Rearrangement of Eq.e. (2) gives: a2T IoSexp(-ax ) 1 aT aX 2 "[. i. t) = 0 and T( x.Z Shuja/Applied SurfaceScience108 (1997) 167-175 169 pulse lengths are considered and these are introduced in the theoretical predictions. R being the reflectivity. T(m. Therefore. the Fourier heat conduction ap.

¥AG laser.e.I° 2 +exp(o~-62t)erfc(&/-£-t)-I were inserted into the hole drilled. It power. i. t) about 0. (4) gives: It is evident that dT(x.6 x ) tion was used as it was resulted from the Nd. K-type thermocouples were used.S. a T ( x. welded with a laser beam.e.Z. 1. i. the identical power intensity distribu- k6 exp( . i. The Nd:YAG laser output power intensity I0 distribution and the power intensity distribution used + 2k6exp(a62t. length was used to focus the laser beam on the lim T ( x . later. (5) gives the temperature profile inside the in the path to measure the instantaneous laser output material for a given laser beam power intensity. (5) with x gives the tem- perature gradient inside the material. W / m 2 can be achieved by varying the focus setting ture at the surface with time may be obtained setting of the lens. no steady state solution exists for the Consequently. An energy power meter was employed Eq.48 ms pulses was used to irradi- ate the target. power intensities as high as 1012 temperature distribution. 6x) in the present computation are shown in Fig.. It should be noted that in computing the tempera- Io ture profiles. 2. A graduated barrel holding t-+co the focusing lens was used to vary the focus setting. t) = oo surface of the workpiece. Yilbas. X 3. A condensing lens of 51 mm nominal focal should be noted that.2 0 J within 1. 2--~exp( a 6 s t . .6x) . (5). the maximum temperature occurs T( x. The workpiece k6 ¢r surface and thermocouple tips were ground down to (6) the same level and. Shuja/Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175 Rearrangement of Eq. Therefore.170 B. A Nd:YAG laser delivering output energy in the range xerfc av' + (5) of 5 .6x) ---~-°" ( a 6 2 t + 6x) + ~/expzK Thermocouple Xerfc 6 v r ~ + (7) Junction Fig.e. as the time tends to infinity.S. To measure the surface temperature of x = 0 into Eq. To avoid the influence of the magnetic field gener- Differentiation of Eq. 2. The twisted ends of the thermocouple . The growth of the tempera.: the laser heated spot. t) I° exp( . This was accomplished such that a hole of T(O. t ) / d x shall only be zero at the surface. erfc I NdYAGlaser dx k l / Oscilloscope I0 .5 m m in diameter was drilled with a laser in a workpiece. E x p e r i m e n t a l 10 + e x p ( a 6 2 t + 6x) 2k6 The experimental }etup is shown in Fig. Experimentalsetup. t) = ---£-!/at ierfc at the surface.

The selec- tion of the pulse length was limited to the availabil- ity of Nd:YAG laser output pulse. . three pulse lengths were introduced including 1. in this case. Temperature profile inside the materials. In this region conduc- tantalum has a steeper temperature profile compared to those corresponding to the other materials.e.e. Discussions Fig. B.S. x~ tion losses. i. In the second region the slope has a Fig. i. 6. c o m e s (dT/dx)min. minimum value.3 and 1. the slope of the curves decreases reaching the minimum and then increases to attain almost zero where the temperature profile becomes almost asymptotic with x r. 4. i.2.Z. 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 9oo 1000 x~ Fig. In the first region. . heating times. two glass slides were XS used to shield the workpiece and the thermocoup!e tantalum junction. the heat gain due to laser irradiation domi- nates the conduction losses. Shuja /Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175 171 steel 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 x8 nickel time Fig. To examine the effect of the pulse length on the temperature profiles. increases to reach almost zero. Thermocouple output. 3. When almost constant. 5. In this case. 4.e. 3. 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 ated by the laser power supply. In this case. the internal energy increase is considerably high as compared to conduc. the energy gain due to dicted inside four different materials at different incident laser beam balances the conduction losses.S. Yilbas. In general. Variation of temperature with time inside the material. the behavior of dT/dx with x6 may be distinguished into three regions which are indicated in Fig. A typical thermocouple output is shown in Fig. 4 shows the temperature distribution pre.4 /xs. 6 for different materials. The variation of dT/dx with dimensionless length (xfi) is shown in Fig. the slope of the tempera. In general. the dimensionless dis- comparing the temperature profiles corresponding to tance (x r) corresponding to this point may be de- different materials it is evident that the material fined as the equilibrium distance and dT/dx be- having low thermal diffusivity and absorption coeffi. 1. 5). In the third region the slope cient results in steep temperature curves (Fig. the internal energy of the substance remains ture curves reduces as the heating progresses.

. the power rela- -250. 7. On the other hand. i. / f ~ i variation of (x6)eq with (oz62t).~ heating time increases the equilibrium distance in- i 5. i i i . 6. the internal dimensionless time.S.Z. both (dT/dX)eq a n d (X~)e q increase. the materials employed in the calculations.S. As the heating pulse increases ( d T / d X)eq reduces while (x 6 )eq increases.-. energy decreases as the dimensionless distance in. Fig. low absorption depth and high density. therefore.e. 8 shows the "20 i ~ I \ 1 ~Region E I I .1 1 100 1000 tion can be developed for the equilibrium distance x6 and time. In this case. This empirical relation is also true for the other creases..t I / i dominant. This variation is Ix"-. I_ J also in logarithmic form. Variation of ( d T / d X)eq with equilibrium distance (x 6 )~q. It is evident variation of d T / d x corresponding to tantalum is the that the effect of the pulse length is insignificant on highest.. they are close in value. the variation of (x6)eq with a62t. and it may be written as: Fig.172 B. ." / creases and the variation of (dT/dx)mi n with (X6)eq % .5 6 6. This may again be due to the thermal prop. When comparing the four materials. .5 (x~)~u~ Fig.i : ! i . +###BOT_TEXT###amp; I I .. i/}i t follows the laser heating pulse. at the tall of the heating pulse. This may be due erties of tantalum. i. i. which has low thermal diffusivity. 7 shows the variation of (dT/dx)mi n with the dimensionless equilibrium distance (Xt~)eq. Variation of d T / d x with dimensionless distance x& (x~)~q = C[a~2t] m tion losses are dominant and the energy gain due to where C is the constant and m is the power of the the external field is insignificant. the t I "'-. OE+O0 -5E+07 -1E+08 -2E+08 -2E+08 -3E+08 4. AS the . to the pulse lengths selected in the present study. Yilbas.e.--4"" / conduction process inside the substance becomes ". However..0i 0. Shuja /Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175 Fig.5 5 5.

S. __~ io/ a oq = C(xa)e where C is the Constant and m is the power. B. Three distinct regions are visible. I I -. . material. 9. In the relation between (T(x. Yilbas. Fig. indicating that the and pulse lengths. t)/(lo/k6))eq with e q u i l i b r i u m d i s t a n c e ( X 6 ) e q. t)/(Io/k6) with oz62t.9991 I I / I 100 t x • steel • nickel E &tantalum ' r ! I I I ! ] EI ii 10 10 (x~)equ~ Fig. This corre- Fig. for 0 _< c ~ 2t < 4000.¢_ i -i. V a r i a t i o n o f ( T ( x . The rate of change of temperature with time. sponds to initial heating of the surface layers of the perature ((T(x. the surface tem- perature increases very rapidly with time. ~t It is expected that increase in heating time in- Fig.e. and follows from a consideration of the as the temperature where dT/dx is minimum. 8. t)/(Io/k~3))eq with (x~)eq is insignificant as ex- 0 2oo00 ~000 6o0oo 8o0oo 1ooooo 120000 ~ 4000c plained earlier. In the first region. The equilibrium temperature is defined face are low.0065x 5~z8 . where the conduction losses from the sur- tance (x 6)eq. 10 shows the dimensionless equilibrium tem.: --. creases the equilibrium distance. I R2 = 0. It is also evident that the effect of the pulse length on (T(x. which in turn in- less t i m e ( ~ 3 2 t) f o r d i f f e r e n t pulse lengths. t)/Io/k6)eq) with equilibrium dis. t)/Io/k6)eq and (X6)eq on region 4000 < oe62t < 20000. creases the dimensionless equilibrium temperature. This leads to develop a power conduction process is playing a larger part in the 1000 I i y = 0. V a r i a t i o n o f e q u i l i b r i u m distance ( x 6 ) e q w i t h d i m e n s i o n . 9 shows the variation of T(0.S. ~.Z Shuja /Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175 173 relation between the dimensionless equilibrium time and the dimensionless equilibrium distance. i. . the rate of change of the logarithmic scale is linear for all the materials temperature begins to fall off.

. The dimensionless equilibrium temperature (T(x. Sci. . it follows switched lasers. The small variation in both results may be due to experimental error. Fig.= = experiment are in good agreement. I • oF4--tll~l~llll~ll mately 10 -9 s this may not be so and the analysis of 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000 140000 the heat transfer process using the Fourier equation a~2t becomes invalid.. the Fourier analysis may balance. T(0... 24 (1986) 1325. nickel follow the form of the incident pulse.tantalum the order of 10 -5 s. the curve is This may be limited to the pulse length used in the almost linear. 4th ed. Consequently. However. then t r -~ 10 -5 s.S.. 10..S.r l rium time. indicating that the relative levels of the present study. It is evident from Fig.= ! ---.. Yilbas.. The small varia- % 250 tion may be due to the measurement errors. This implies References that the material has an approximate equilibrium time t r = C/ol~ 2 (C being constant). ::::! 20000 40000 60000 800{]0 100000 120000 140000 ¢~zt The equilibrium time (tr = C/ol6 2) exists for a given material. The effect of the pulse length on the equilibrium time is found to be significant. This is true for all the materials considered. . T h e equilibrium dis- tance (xr)~q increases with heating time.S.. steel 50 III experimental 5. . the balance occurs be- tween the internal energy gain d u e to laser irradia- tion and the conduction losses.steel i ~ C ~ 1 I I I I I experimental Q-switched lasers whose pulse length is approxi- Iii111111 / 50t/ I I I [ I : I I I .. Conclusions 0 .Z... it is to be expected that the material will follow the [2] C.tantalum ~" 150 ~ -. Yilbas. in this case. the rise time of the that in this sense an equilibrium condition is reached incident pulse is so fast that the heat transfer process when may no longer be an equilibrium process. This function is found to be in the form of a power relation. in this case.. Eng. For the laser _% 250 pulsed heating process. Since for most metals 10 6 _< 6 _< 108 1 / m 300 I~ :'7i i i i i ' ' and a = 10 -5 m2/s. (Wiley. based on the material re- energy storage and conduction effects are reaching a spond to the incident pulse. Although the temperatures in the material not be valid for some materials heated by a Q- do not at any time reach a steady value..1 a . in this case the heating process 4~o ! l N would be non-equilibrium. whereas for 100 . form of any incident pulse.. and the 0 20000 40000 60000 80000 100000 120000 140000 constant and the power of this relation have the same Ct62t value for all the materials considered.. t ) / ( l o / k r ) = 160. . . ~" 200 o" .. ment. Variation of dimensionless surface temperature T(0. [ . J. energy transfer process for oz62t > 1. O{ 6 2 t ---~ 20000 In this case. . t)/(Io/kr))~q is a function of equilibrium distance.. Int. [1] B. Kittel. nickel 100 .. 10 400 i:~ ='~ == that the both results predicted and obtained from the 300 . .0. . Introductionto Solid State Physics. 197!).174 B. Shuja/Applied Surface Science 108 (1997) 167-175 450 time of the pulse is much greater than this equilib- 400 = 350 : : : 1. .. where the pulse length is of ~--~ & g- 200 . the material may be expected to 156 . The predicted and experimentally measured sur- t)/(Io/k3) with dimensionless time (a62t) for three materials face temperatures are found to be in a good agree- and experiments. . providing that the rise New York.

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