TWI demonstrates laser cutting underwater

Cambridge, UK - TWI, an independent research and technology organization, has demonstrated an additional capability to cut thick section materials and also to cut underwater.

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The latter capability, according to TWI, has applications where items are either located in a submerged environment, such as a nuclear fuel storage pool or reactor vessel, or due to potential fire risk have to be submerged before cutting can take place, according to a Metal Worker article. Options for use in off-shore decommissioning are also being investigated.

The laser cutting principle requires, in addition to the laser beam, a gas jet delivered concentric to the beam. TWI used this gas jet to create a localized gaseous environment immediately adjacent to the steel surface being cut.

In preliminary demonstrations, a steel plate 12mm thick, submerged under 300mm of water, has been cut at a speed of approximately 0.4m/min, according to TWI.  

TWI is an independent research and technology organizations. With headquarters in Cambridge, UK, since 1946, and with several facilities around the world, TWI has a long history of invention, innovation and knowledge transfer. TWI works across all industry sectors and is an expert in all aspects of manufacturing, fabrication, and whole-life integrity management technologies.

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