Laser cleaning is an important process in the removal of contaminants from the surface layer of materials. These contaminants can be substrates such as carbon, rubber or silicon.
Another damage that materials can suffer is rust. Not only does this tarnish the aesthetics of the material, but it can also be harmful to the quality too. This is why laser rust removal is an important process in many cleaning applications.
What is rust?
Rust is generally known as the result of a reaction between iron and oxygen when there is water or air moisture present. After a time, this material can suffer complete rust damage, and simply disintegrate.
There are other types of rust, such as reactions between iron and chloride in an environment that has limited oxygen, in which case you may see green rust. It’s not just metals that suffer rust damage, other materials, such as concrete, can also be subject to it too.
Not only does rust look displeasing to the eye, ruining the value of the object that it has damaged, but it can also be harmful to safety too. Rust causes materials to become weaker, and over time can completely eat away at the material. If you are considering something like the brake caliper of a car, then you simply can’t afford for rust to pose a risk to human life.
Other damages that rust can cause are holes, a loss in magnetic attraction, and a loss in electrical conductivity. And it can also cause materials to stick together (which would otherwise slide over one another). Rust can attach itself to works of art, such as on metal frames, and also to statues and monuments. It will affect the aesthetics and is also damaging. As can be seen, rust removal is a crucial and necessary process.
How does the process work?
Laser cleaning is one of the most efficient and effective methods for removing rust from a material. The rust, which is a contaminant, will form on the surface layer of the material. Using fiber-type lasers offers great control when it comes to pulse duration, power, and wavelength, the user can direct a beam of high-power energy directly at this rust.
The rust will quickly absorb the energy beam, and as the heat begins to rise, the rust will irradiate, melt, and eventually vaporize. Fiber lasers are the most effective types of laser on the market, and this process will allow you to only vaporize the rust from the material being worked with, without causing any damage to the actual material below.
A further benefit of this process is that it can be adapted to a wide range of projects. Perhaps you want to remove a small amount of rust from a select area. Alternatively, you may need to restore whole structures, such as old bridges.
Fiber-based lasers have quickly become the most accepted form of medium when it comes to the laser cleaning of rust.