International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO)
Carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) is a very attractive material for lightweight applications and is therefore widely used in the aviation industry. Its superior weight-to-stiffness ratio allows high load bearing. However, in case of damage the material’s characteristics also make it difficult to repair with conventional tools. The laser technology has successfully demonstrated the precise removal of both carbon fibres and polymer matrix, which can be used to prepare a damaged CFRP surface for repair. For wide industrial application, it is necessary to develop a fully automated process to provide a reliable surface preparation. An intelligent, automated laser process requires process monitoring and a process model to flexible adjust processing factors. This study presents a model for the laser ablation process of CFRP that predicts the achieved material removal in terms of the depth based on the processing parameters pulse energy, scanning velocity, and line spacing. The model is experimentally verified on simple geometries. The depth predicted by the model is compared to manual measurements with a microscope and coordinate measurement system and surface measurements conducted through a confocal laser scanning microscope (LSM). The experimental results are in good accordance with the model’s prediction with a tolerance of 10\%.