Beam oscillation in laser material processing makes it possible to influence process behavior in terms of energy distribution, stability, melt pool dynamics and solidification. Within the setup presented here, the beam is oscillated transverse to the welding direction, and the filler wire is fed to the melt pool of a butt joint with an air gap. One advantage of this setup is the large gap bridging ability. Certain parameter sets lead to the so-called buttonhole welding method, which allows laser welding of smooth and nearly ripple-free seams. Observations showed a transition area between conventional keyhole and buttonhole welding in which the process is destabilized. Welds made with parameter sets from this area contain critical seam defects. Welding experiments with high-speed video recording and a simplified analytical model about the wire-beam interaction have helped to elucidate the mechanisms behind this. EN AW-6082 sheet material in 1.5 mm thickness and ML 4043 filler wire with 1.2 mm diameter were used. The investigations lead to the conclusion that partially melted wire segments result at certain parameter relations which hinder the formation of a buttonhole. If these segments are prevented, buttonhole welding occurs. In the transition area, these segments are very small and can lead to the detachment of a buttonhole, resulting in the named seam defects.
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