Laser parameters (such as power, cutting speed, focal distance, assist gas etc.) have been optimised for CO2 and Nd-YAG lasers. Cutting, de-polishing, marking, lettering and drilling of Greek and Portuguese marbles with CO2 lasers has been successfully investigated under atmospheric "dry" conditions and in "submerged" conditions using a specially developed high pressure laser head in a sedimentation tank under water.
The project concerns the development and testing of laser cutting and treatment techniques in order to cut marble plates in various geometrical shapes and to polish, glaze and possibly weld them with metals. It is also intended to develop a high pressure nozzle and a submerged marble cutting facility to prevent the escape to the fine marble dust produced during cutting with a laser .
The marble sludge will be separated,dryed and the fine powder will be retained for further use as filler or whitening material in the paper,paint,plastic and rubber industries. Environmental aspect relating to marble cutting by lasers are yet total unexplored. Mechanical marble cutting techniques are limiting with respect to accuracy,speed and pattern flexibility. Conventional marble surface polishing is time and material consuming since plates of equal thickness,where polishing can be applied,are not easily obtained by conventional cutting methods.
The fine marble dust proposed as a cutting product is contaminated with abrasive material originating from the cutting process itself when using diamond saws etc...,and cannot be used for further applications. Previous preliminary experiments have show that laser-cutting of marble plates is possible with appropriate speeds,but the process parameters still have to be optimized. The research work stopped because of enormous production of fine marble dust.
The proposed research project aims,after investigation of the above,to assemble a prototype marble cutting facility.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts