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Laser texturing is a process that alters a material’s surface properties by modifying its texture and roughness. The laser beam creates micropatterns on the surface through laser ablation, removing layers with micrometer precision and perfect repeatability. Typical patterns include dimples, grooves, and free forms.
Laser surface texturingcan be used to improve properties like adherence, wettability, electrical and thermal conductivity, and friction. For example, you can increase surface adherence before applying common coatings like adhesives, paint or ceramic. Laser texturing can also be used to prepare surfaces for thermal spray coating and laser cladding as well as to improve the performance of mechanical seals.
Laser texturing and structuring
Structuring and texturing consist of making geometrical structures with a very precise function.
While laser engraving refers to reliefs generally of the order of a tenth of a millimetre deep, texturing, also called structuring, consists of changing the surface relief of a work piece on a micrometric or even nanometric scale. Each laser pulse, focused on a size of the order of the diameter of a hair, can evaporate or sublime a very small volume of material.
With certain lasers operating at more than one million pulses per second, an entire surface can be textured very quickly. Other even finer texturings are possible in order to form grooves of only a few hundred nanometres wide. This type of structure can lead to the diffraction of light on the surface of a work piece, for example.
Since the advent of femtosecond lasers, it has been possible to reproducibly make very complex structures, with a high aspect ratio in three dimensions. The micrometric and even nanometric dimensions that can be achieved is driving the miniaturisation of electronic, photonic or mechanical components. Laser texturing will also enable a surface to be made functional by making it diffractive, hyperhydrophobic or absorbent (intense black).
A TEXTURING PROCESS WITHOUT CONSUMABLES
Surface treatments like abrasive blasting and chemical etching processes need consumables like steel grits and acid to texture surfaces. Unlike those treatments, the laser texturing process functions without consumables. This results in low operating costs, low maintenance, and improved health and safety in the workplace.
Operators won’t need to handle chemicals, wear protective equipment, and stop operations to replace consumables. Our team can make sure that you have a proper fume extraction system and that your product is class-1/class-4 compliant according to international laser safety standards.
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HOW DOES LASER SURFACE TEXTURING WORK?
Laser texturing uses like laser cleaning the process of laser ablation to selectively remove materials from specific surface areas. By adjusting the laser’s parameters, we’re able to control how much surface is removed as well as create different patterns. This typically increases roughness, creating surface textures that can easily lodge adhesives and provide additional anchoring surface.
To reach the material’s ablation threshold, pulsed lasers concentrate energy to reach a high peak power. Typically, the pulse duration is 100 nanoseconds, and each pulse contains between 0.5 and 1 millijoules. The time required to texture a surface depends on the material, the desired roughness level, and the laser system’s output power.