A dual gas-jet, laser-cutting technique involving coaxial and off-axial oxygen gas flows was developed to cut 6.35-mm thick AISI 304 stainless steel plates with a 1.2-kW CO2 gas transport laser at a cutting speed of 12.7 mm/sec (30 in./min). Under identical process conditions, the single, coaxial gas jet could not cut the stainless steel although the cutting speed was reduced to 2.11 mm/sec (5 in./min). Thresholds of off-axial nozzle diameter, gas-impinging angle, oxygen pressure, and other process parameters were determined to obtain clean-cut edge quality (average dross height 0.25 mm). Experimental data coupled with a fluid-dynamics model of gas flow were presented to show the effectiveness of the dual gas-jet, laser-cutting method in achieving the maximum machining rate without deteriorating the quality of cut.

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