Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. YuMing Zhang


Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is one of the most important welding processes in industrial application. To control metal transfer at given variables is a focus in the field of research and development in welding community.

In this dissertation, laser enhanced GMAW is proposed and developed by adding a lower power laser onto the droplet to generate an auxiliary detaching force. The electromagnetic force needed to detach droplets, thus the current that determines this force, is reduced. Wire feed speed, arc voltage, and laser intensity were identified as three major parameters that affect the laser enhanced metal transfer process and a systematic series of experiments were designed and conducted to test these parameters. The behaviors of the laser enhanced metal transfer process observed from high speed images were analyzed using the established physics of metal transfer. In all experiments, the laser was found to affect the metal transfer process as an additional detaching force that tended to change a short-circuiting transfer to drop globular or drop spray, reduce the diameter of the droplet detached in drop globular transfer, or decrease the diameter of the droplet such that the transfer changed from drop globular to drop spray. The enhancement of the laser was found to increase as the laser intensity increased. The larger laser intensity tended to help reduce the size of the droplet detached. The arc voltage affected the metal transfer process through changing the current and changing the gap and possible time interval of the droplet development. A larger arc voltage helped reduce the size of the droplet detached through an increased electromagnetic force. Desired heat input and current/arc pressure waveforms may thus be both delivered and controlled by GMAW through laser enhancement. Laser recoil pressure force was estimated based on the difference of gravitational force with and without laser pulse, and the result was with an acceptable accuracy. Good formation of welds and full penetration of thin plate could be obtained using laser enhanced GMAW. A nonlinear model was established to simulate the dynamic metal transfer in laser enhanced GMAW, and the results agree with the experimental one.