Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) modelling of transient heat transfer in pulsed laser ablation of Al and associated free-surface problems

Al Shaer, Ahmad Wael orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5031-8493, Rogers, B.D. and Li, L. (2017) Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) modelling of transient heat transfer in pulsed laser ablation of Al and associated free-surface problems. Computational Materials Science, 127 . pp. 161-179. ISSN 0927-0256

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A Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) numerical model is developed to simulate pulsed-laser ablation processes for micro-machining. Heat diffusion behaviour of a specimen under the action of nanosecond pulsed lasers can be described analytically by using complementary error function solutions of second-order differential equations. However, their application is limited to cases without loss of material at the surface. Compared to conventional mesh-based techniques, as a novel meshless simulation method, SPH is ideally suited to applications with highly non-linear and explosive behaviour in laser ablation. However, little is known about the suitability of using SPH for the modelling of laser-material interactions with multiple phases at the micro scale. The present work investigates SPH modelling of pulsed-laser ablation of aluminium where the laser is applied directly to the free-surface boundary of the specimen. Having first assessed the performance of standard SPH surface treatments for functions commonly used to describe laser heating, the heat conduction behaviour of a new SPH methodology is then evaluated through a number of test cases for single- and multiple-pulse laser heating of aluminium showing excellent agreement when compared with an analytical solution. Simulation of real ablation processes, however, requires the model to capture the removal of material from the surface and its subsequent effects on the laser heating process. Hence, the SPH model for describing the transient behaviour of nanosecond laser ablation is validated with a number of experimental and reference results reported in the literature. The SPH model successfully predicts the material ablation depth profiles over a wide range of laser fluences 4–23 J/cm2 and pulse durations 6–10 ns, and also predicts the transient behaviour of the ejected material during the laser ablation process. Unlike conventional mesh-based methods, the SPH model was not only able to provide the thermo-physical properties of the ejected particles, but also the effect of the interaction between them as well as the direction and the pattern of the ejection.

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