Laser Forming of Fibre Metal Laminates
S.P. Edwardson, P. French, G. Dearden, K.G. Watkins and W.J. Cantwell
The laser forming process has been shown to be a viable method of shaping metallic components, as a means of rapid prototyping and of adjusting and aligning. Although the process does compete with conventional forming processes, applications are being discovered where laser forming alone can achieve the desired results. The application reported in this work demonstrates how the process can be used to form recently developed high strength fibre metal laminate materials. These materials due to their construction and high strength are difficult to form once constructed using conventional techniques. Fibre metal laminates are of particular interest to the aerospace industry, where the high strength yet lightweight construction of parts made with these materials offers significant weight reductions and hence a reduction in operational costs of new large commercial aircraft such as the Airbus A380. In addition a more recent application under investigation for these materials is in the construction of street furniture (e.g. litter bins) and airline cargo containers utilising their excellent blast resistance capabilities to save lives in the event of terrorism.