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Glossary of laser cutting terms

A

Ablation

The removal of material in industrial laser cutting, or tissue in medical laser cutting, by melting, evaporation, or vaporization. See Vaporization.

Absorbance

The ability of a material to absorb radiant energy. It is expressed as a negative common logarithm of transmittance.

Alloy Steels

A steel alloy with a major iron component, but without the other metals required to make it a stainless steel. Most alloy steels can be successfully cut with CO2 lasers using oxygen and nitrogen.

Aluminum/Aluminum Alloys

Metals that display a very high reflectivity to laser light and possess high thermal conductivities. Both of these properties reduce the cutting speeds and the maximum thickness of material that can be cut. Aluminum alloys are most often cut by melt shearing using nitrogen gas.

Anodized Aluminum Sheet

Aluminum sheet coated with a layer of aluminum oxide which has a low reflectivity to CO2 laser light allowing it to be easier pierced and cut than natural aluminum. Anodized aluminum sheet is hard and scratch resistant, extremely corrosion resistant and comes in a range of colors making it attractive to customers.

Articulated Arm

CO2 laser beam delivery device consisting of a series of hollow tubes and mirrors.

Assist Gas

Laser cutting is accomplished by blowing molten metal through the kerf. Oxygen is most commonly used when cutting ferrous metals. Inert gases can be used to produce oxide-free cut edges. Cutting non-metals is usually accomplished with compressed air. See Gas Jet.

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