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Laser cutting depends on an assist gas, which may be active or inert. Oxygen is the standard active assist gas used for laser cutting of mild and carbon steels. It is also referred to as the cutting gas.
When cutting with oxygen, the material is burned and vapourised after being heated up to ignition temperature by the laser beam. The reaction between the oxygen and the metal actually creates additional energy in the form of heat, which supports the cutting process. The liquid iron oxide, which has very low viscosity, is removed from the cut by the shear force of the oxygen jet.
The maximum oxygen pressure depends primarily on the material thickness. For thin sheets up to 2 or 3 mm, oxygen pressure can be as high as 6 bar, where the contribution of the combustion process is insignificant and the melt-shear removal process does all the work. For thick sheets however, the maximum applicable oxygen pressure drops rapidly. At thicknesses above 20 mm, the applied pressure is rarely over 1 bar (gauge).
Maximising productivity with the right O2 purities
Industrial oxygen is typically supplied in compressed gas cylinders with a minimum purity of 99.5%.
Linde offers a complete range of products and services, uniting our in-depth laser cutting know-how with our long-standing experience in the delivery of fully integrated laser solutions.
Our spectrum of services extends from process consulting through gas storage and supply technologies to all-round technical support. The result is a state-of-the-art, all-inclusive supply and service package tailored to your specific needs.