Laser Cleaning and Rust Removal
Laser rust removal, a type of laser cleaning, is an effective process for cleaning up metal parts. When a laser beam is shone on a metal surface at an intensity below its ablation threshold, the energy of the laser beam is dispersed as heat, but it has no permanent effect on the metal.
All materials have characteristics that define their behavior under specific conditions. Everyone knows about melting point, density, ductility, electrical conductivity. A less known characteristic of metals is their ablation threshold.
Rust, paint, varnishes and other contaminants all have ablation threshold below that of most metal.
One can easily set the laser parameters so that the intensity of the laser beam is just above the ablation threshold of the contaminant but below that of the metal to be cleaned. Resulting in the removal of the contaminant without affecting the base metal in any way.
Several passes may be required, especially for thick layers of industrial paints. But the results are well worth the efforts.Ask an expert
Why use a laser for rust removal?
Fast and reliable technology
Laser allows the efficient and rapid cleaning and removal of rust on metal parts with various geometries.
Low maintenance, low consumables costs
Industrial laser systems are very low maintenance and have no consumable costs.
Enhanced versatility and productivity
Laser rust removal and cleaning systems are very interesting alternatives to manual and chemical cleaning methods. Cleaning trajectories can be instantaneously and easily changed through software.
Low energy consumption
New fiber laser cleaning technologies offer lower electrical consumption.
How Does Laser Rust Removal Work
Rust is a substance formed by the corrosion of iron, it requires the presence of oxygen and water. Rust is a slow oxidation which, with time, will damage the material. An incident high-power laser beam is quickly absorbed by the rust layer at the surface of a metal part. The rapid heating of the rust layer causes its melting and vaporization. With optimized process parameters, it is possible to remove the rust layer without damaging the underlying material.
Such a processes can be done in-situ with fiber laser cleaners such as Laserax's mobile laser cleaning system.
For laser rust removal speeds, read the technical paper.
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