Laser cutting of carbon fiber reinforced plastic components for remanufacturing

Arshed, Farhan and Ahmad, Abdul and Xirouchakis, Paul and Metsios, Ioannis (2022) Laser cutting of carbon fiber reinforced plastic components for remanufacturing. Journal of Remanufacturing, 12 (3). pp. 411-433. ISSN 2210-4690 (

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Carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) is extensively used in automotive and aerospace industries with the aim to achieve reduction on emissions by reducing weight. Due to governmental regulations to reduce the environmental impact and to reduce waste, the need for remanufacturing CFRP is becoming an interesting area of application with economic benefits to industry. This is important as manufacturing carbon fiber is a costly process and remanufacturing CFRP is more cost effective and reduces the dependency on virgin materials. Processing CFRP to meet demands, for fast and high-quality cuts, can impose problems for conventional methods. The use of multi-pass scanning technique in laser cutting CFRP is investigated using a 1.5kW fiber laser with assist gas pressure of 16 bar and gas flow rate of 126 lt/min. Using multi-pass technique, a through cut can be obtained by repeating the beam travel more than once. The advantage of laser cutting when compared with traditional CNC, is the low cost of maintenance over time due to the non-contact nature of the process i.e. no wear of tool at contact area. And due to the small beam spot size of the laser small and complex shapes can be cut. The aim of the paper is to determine how the process performs in terms of cutting speed and fiber damage. Average power was used to carried out experimental tests. A fiber damage below 100 μm with laser cutting speed of 2.5 m/min and above was obtained. Thermal effects were analyzed using scanning electron microscope (SEM) and optical microscope (OM). The fiber damage was further optimized using specialist methods such as double aperture nozzle and trenching. The use of trenching and double aperture further reduces the fiber damage to 10 μm and 50 μm, respectively with laser cutting speed of 7.5 m/min and 3.33 m/min.