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Fiber laser welding and fiber laser-arc hybrid welding have been developed into very useful industrial processes over the past few years. However, the use of fiber lasers can be associated with quality problems at the weld root such as intermittent penetration, melt ejection, and humping. This paper explains the mechanisms which create these instabilities and suggests a repair technique which would alleviate the problems in some cases. The main difference between fiber and CO laser welding is that during fiber laser welding there is a strong downward thrust on the melt in the keyhole. (This is not the case during CO laser welding.) The downward thrust on the melt is generated as a result of the fiber laser evaporating the top faces of bumps on the melt surface. The downward flow has two main effects; (a) the melt can achieve velocities which result in melt ejection from the root of the weld—which can result in intermittent penetration, (b) the supply of hot metal to the bottom of the weld makes the process much more thermally uniform at the top and bottom of the weld. This uniformity means that the melt is extended backward several millimeters on the top and bottom surfaces—which can result in melt humping in the weld root as well as on the top surface. This paper examines these weld root instabilities and also describes a technique of weld root remelting which has been shown to be effective in smoothing out the root of the weld to improve its tensile and fatigue properties.


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