Analysis of potentially hazardous substances emitted during laser processing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics
Conference on Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM)
Lasers are promising tools to cut, ablate or even weld carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). Nowadays, it is possible to achieve very good product qualities (especially relevant for lightweight constructions) using specific laser processing strategies such as multipass cutting or short-pulsed ablation. The intention of these processing strategies is to minimize laser energy deposition within the material, because excessive heat causes defects such as pores, blowholes or delamination. Nevertheless, CFRP laser processing is connected with the emission of potentially hazardous substances, i.e. particles and fiber segments as well as inorganic and organic gases. This work describes a generalized approach to investigate hazardous emissions released during laser processing of CFRP. Measurement methods to quantify the emitted particles and gases in the exhaust air as well as in the air at the workplace are presented. These methods are applied to determine emission rates of specific material process combinations. The obtained values are implemented into a specific database to enable a fast access to the comparison with existing limit threshold values, maximum permissible exposures and adequate protective measures. The thorough analysis of various processes will help to assess the risks related to laser processing of CFRP in general and thus to create the framework, including standardization, for a safe handling of the emitted hazardous substances.