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