Review on mechanism and process of surface polishing using lasers
Laser polishing is a technology of smoothening the surface of various materials with highly intense laser beams. When these beams impact on the material surface to be polished, the surface starts to be melted due to the high temperature. The melted material is then relocated from the ‘peaks to valleys’ under the multidirectional action of surface tension. By varying the process parameters such as beam intensity, energy density, spot diameter, and feed rate, different rates of surface roughness can be achieved. High precision polishing of surfaces can be done using laser process. Currently, laser polishing has extended its applications from photonics to molds as well as bio-medical sectors. Conventional polishing techniques have many drawbacks such as less capability of polishing freeform surfaces, environmental pollution, long processing time, and health hazards for the operators. Laser polishing on the other hand eliminates all the mentioned drawbacks and comes as a promising technology that can be relied for smoothening of initial topography of the surfaces irrespective of the complexity of the surface. Majority of the researchers performed laser polishing on materials such as steel, titanium, and its alloys because of its low cost and reliability. This article gives a detailed overview of the laser polishing mechanism by explaining various process parameters briefly to get a better understanding about the entire polishing process. The advantages and applications are also explained clearly to have a good knowledge about the importance of laser polishing in the future.
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