Proceedings PaperApplication of laser welding in shipyards
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Compared to traditional arc welding practice, laser welding offers significant potential advantages for structural fabrication, including reduced distortion, higher welding speeds, reduced costs for consumables, more efficient structural design and greater reproducibility and consistency. As robust, high power CO2 lasers that can make single pass butt joints in steel greater than 10 mm thick are now commercially available, laser welding is now being actively considered for a new range of structural applications. However, the use of laser welding is a radical departure from present practices and before its introduction to production its technical suitability and cost effectiveness must both be clearly demonstrated. The paper considers the issues to be resolved before laser welding can be used with confidence in these areas. Weld quality issues are addressed and joint properties are reviewed, bearing in mind that many conventional tests such as Charpy and all weld metal tensile tests are not suitable for the narrow welds resulting from laser welding.