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Proceedings Paper

Short-pulse laser removal of organic coatings
Author(s): Craig T. Walters
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Paper Abstract

A major problem in the regular maintenance of aerospace systems is the removal of paint and other protective coatings from surfaces without polluting the atmosphere or endangering workers. Recent research has demonstrated that many organic coatings can be removed from surfaces efficiently using short laser pulses without the use of any chemical agents. The lasers employed in this study were repetitively-pulsed neodymium YAG devices operating at 1064 nm (15 - 30 ns, 10 - 20 Hz). The efficiency of removal can be cast in terms of an effective heat of ablation, Q* (kJ of laser energy incident per g of paint removed), although, for short pulses, the mechanism of removal is believed to be dominated more by thermo- mechanical or shock effects than by photo-ablation. Q* data were collected as a function of pulse fluence for several paint types. For many paint types, there was a fairly sharp threshold fluence per pulse near 1 J/cm2, above which Q* values dropped to levels which were a factor of four lower than those observed for long- pulse or continuous laser ablation of paint. In this regime, the coating is removed in fairly large particles or, in the case of one paint, the entire thickness of the coating was removed over the exposed area in one pulse. Hardware for implementing short-pulse laser paint stripping in the field is under development and will be highlighted in the presentation. Practical paint stripping rates achieved using the prototype hardware are presented for several paint types.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 August 2000
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 4065, High-Power Laser Ablation III, (16 August 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.407381
Show Author Affiliations
Craig T. Walters, Craig Walters Associates (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4065:
High-Power Laser Ablation III
Claude R. Phipps, Editor(s)

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