A new EU-funded research project will look at how ultra-short laser pulses modify material surfaces so that metal powder from a cold gas jet can adhere more easily. The project, Efficient Manufacturing of Laser-Assisted Cold-Sprayed Components, will bring together five partners from industry and research looking to extend low-pressure cold gas spraying to new applications.
Cold Gas Spraying is an Additive Manufacturing process in which metal powders are accelerated to supersonic speeds to adhere to material surfaces. The material deposition process is based on the kinetic energy of the particles. A thick layer (>0.5 mm) is deposited with no thermal defect in the substrate. The deposited layer can be directly machined or reworked.
The main advantages of low-pressure cold gas spraying are the lack of heat input, high processing speed, and low investment cost. New material combinations are especially promising in automotive and aeronautics.
The main challenge in this technology is the adherence of the first layer on the workpiece. The aim of the EU research project is to improve adhesion on different substrates by using high-speed laser surface structuring with integrated ns and ps lasers with low-pressure cold gas spraying. New material combinations can then be developed for industrial use. The deposition of metallic materials (Cu or Al) on carbon fibre and glass fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP and GFRP) substrates is being investigated, which has already created significant interest in the aeronautic and automotive industries. In addition, the new technology can be applied in novel ways in electronics manufacturing.
The project team is composed of French, Dutch, and German partners. Dycomet Europe from The Netherlands brings cold gas spraying expertise, Edgewave in Germany delivers high-power short-pulsed laser technology, and Industrial Laser Systems based in France is acting as the system integrator and coordinator of the project.
Research teams from Université de Technologie de Belfort-Montbéliard, France, and Fraunhofer-Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Germany, are developing the process.
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