Wide range of surface and material textures with new laser technology

The arrival of the femotsecond laser at Sirris opens doors towards adding functionalities to materials which used to be difficult or impossible to manipulate. Tests have already confirmed this.

A new laser texture machine was recently set up at our Precision Manufacturing department. This machine, which uses a femtosecond laser, can apply a structure to surfaces and thus provide it with extra, unique functionalities. Just think of water-resistance, reduced or increased friction coefficient, antibacterial properties or optical effects, to name just a few options.

'Cold laser machining'

One of the specific advantages of a femtosecond laser is that it does not introduce heat into the material and uses ‘cold laser machining’. The material evaporates in essence, without any form of melting, and this is due to the fact that the pulse time is shorter than the time needed for heat to be transferred (+/- 250 fs). This opens the door to processing materials which were difficult to process with nanosecond and microsecond lasers. Examples include plastics and rubbers, but also advanced ceramics with extreme hardnesses and melting points in excess of 2,000 °C . It is also thanks to the very high power density in focus that it is possible to successfully manipulate materials which are usually transparent for the wavelength of laser light. Just think of different types of glass such as Silica and Zerodur.

Successful tests

We recently did tests on plastics (PP, PE, PA-6), rubbers, glass, all kinds of ferro- and non-ferro metals, but also advanced ceramic materials, such as e.g. WC, SiC and Si3N4-TiN. The materials seem to be easy to texture with this laser. This allows us to apply functionalities to these materials which were not possible before.

Microstructure wolfram carbide (without binder), texture depth 60 µm, HV10 = 2650 kg/mm2 and melting point 2.870 °C.

Do you want to find out more about this technology or do you have an interesting case which we can develop for you? Feel free to contact us on!