Laser Heating of Graphite and Pulsed Laser Ablation of Titanium and Aluminum

William A. Bauer


Tactical missions for laser weapons include a wide variety of targets, increasing the demands on the laser lethality community. New approaches to reducing the dimensionality of laser and materials interactions are necessary to increase predictive capability. Self-contained systematic experimental study was conducted on continuous wave and pulsed laser interaction with graphite, Al, and Ti. The spectroscopy and plume dynamics from the heating and ablation of these materials was examined to characterize laser weapons effects, develop graphite response for thermal protection systems, and provide optical diagnostics for materials processing. Furthermore, analysis of ablated plume velocity distributions shows application of conventional Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is inadequate, particularly for expansion into pressure environment.