Sheet metal cutting requires a power density of 10 6 watts/in 2 (source: Mike Klos @ laser mechanisms) Converting to millimeters, that's 1550 watts/mm 2. (using equation: 1in 2 = 645mm 2) A 100 watt laser can achieve a power density of 1550 watts/mm 2 in a spot size that is 0.6452mm 2 A spot size that is 0.6452mm 2 has a diameter of of .28mm or 280 micron (using area = pi * (d/2) 2) 280 micron!
Cutting processes are those in which a piece of sheet metal is separated by applying a great enough force to caused the material to fail. The most common cutting processes are performed by applying a shearing force, and are therefore sometimes referred to as shearing processes.
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