Laser cutting of wood: thermal model and empirical validation
Tutor / directorPrevitali, Barbara
CovenanteePolitecnico di Milano
Document typeBachelor thesis
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
Laser cutting of metallic materials has been applied for many decades in industries because it is a process that has many advantages in processing materials: non-contact method, freedom of processing geometry, efficient technology for the serial process, etc. However, the laser has not been applied in many research fields relating to wood because originally it was not designed for this and there are some extra complications as the costs compared to the traditional methods. Usually, the wood in the industry does not need great finishes as it is not used in complex geometry pieces compared with the metals. Despite that, all the advantages that the lasers could have in the metals are also present in the case of industrial wood cutting because it can cut complicated profiles with a smoother and softer cut surface without sawdust, it is an easily automatable process, there is no tool wear, etc. For this reason, this project seeks to investigate how the laser works and what possibilities can give with regard to industrial wood cutting. The main motivation for doing the project is the fact that cutting laser related to industrial wood materials is a fairly unknown field but in turn, its development could have a wide range of applications in order to improve the industrial wood pieces and obtaining more complicated profiles which can be applied in more fields of the industry and thus, compete with the traditional cutting technology. Thus, as the name of the project indicates, the main point is to understand how to apply the laser in the field of wood industry, specifically for the cutting process and, in turn, look for a modeling to quantify some of the qualities of the final workpiece, as the final geometry or the kerf width. The research project is divided in two sections: a theoretical part and a second with the experimentation. The first theoretical part describes the theory necessary to develop the second part of the project. This section begins with a detailed description of the properties of wood that will be important for understanding the laser cutting process of the industrial wood, then, the theoretical basis of the laser operation are described in order to understand the discussions that come in the rest of the project. Finally, the various laser cutting processes are described to get to the explanation of the phenomena that occur in the specific case of laser cutting of industrial wood. After this theoretical introduction, the project focuses on the analysis of the state of the art in order to get to the demonstration of a mathematical model which will be the basis of the final experimentation. This experimentation will be done with two types of industrial wood, concretely the MDF and the Chipboard, because they are two of the most used in the furniture industry due to their reduced price and their properties, such as their easily shaping. Furthermore, as the chipboard are wood chips glued together with a more amorphous structure than the MDF, the use of these two types of industrial wood allow to develop and verify the model in two different cases with different structures.
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