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Proceedings Paper

Laser surface alloying of coins for authenticity
Author(s): Zhu Liu; Kenneth G. Watkins; William M. Steen; P. G. Hatherley
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents an exploratory investigation on verifying the feasibility of using a laser surface alloying technique to produce designs in the surface of coinage blanks. The specific aim of the work concerns the production of design features in coins that are difficult to produce by other techniques and which hence act as a barrier to forgery and features which permit automatic recognition in vending machines, particularly as a means of establishing the authenticity of the coins. Coins in many countries today are commonly manufactured from metal composites, where one substrate metal or alloy is coated with another by a process of electrodeposition or by mechanical bonding. The technique here described entails the use of a high power CO2 laser to bring about localized melting of the two layers. Visible distinction between alloyed and unalloyed regions or difference in other physical properties such as conductivity or magnetic properties can be obtained. The work also involved a fundamental study of the influence of the thermal properties of the materials on the CO2 laser alloying process. It was found that the thermal properties such as thermal conductivity of the substrate materials and the difference of the melting points between the coating layer and the substrate materials played an important role in the process. Laser control variables required for localized alloying for different substrate and coatings types were determined. The influence of both thermal properties and laser control variables on alloy type and alloy depth were investigated. Initial work on coin validation showed promising results of an automatic recognition of laser treated coins.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 August 1997
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 3097, Lasers in Material Processing, (18 August 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.281106
Show Author Affiliations
Zhu Liu, Univ. of Liverpool (United Kingdom)
Kenneth G. Watkins, Univ. of Liverpool (United Kingdom)
William M. Steen, Univ. of Liverpool (United Kingdom)
P. G. Hatherley, The Royal Mint (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3097:
Lasers in Material Processing
Leo H. J. F. Beckmann, Editor(s)

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