The influence of mechanical and CO2 laser cut-edge characteristics on the fatigue life performance of high strength automotive steels

The cut-edge characteristic properties of automotive structures formed during the mechanical blanking and laser-cutting processes significantly influence fatigue life performance. This factor is becoming increasingly important as S355MC and DP600 high strength steels (HSS) grades under investigation exhibit an increased sensitivity to fatigue cracks initiating from cut-edge regions. It was determined that by manipulating the critical cutting process parameters, clearance in terms of mechanical blanking, and by controlling the interrelationship between power and traverse cutting speed during the laser cutting process can result in optimised fatigue lives being achieved. Optimal fatigue lives were attained by minimising the cut-edge surface damage and by controlling the near edge microstructural deformations during each cutting process. It is the critical significance of fatigue which is the limiting factor towards being able to effectively downgauge steel grades used as automotive chassis and suspension components. This research is some of the first that considers the influence of mechanical and laser cut-edge surface quality and internal properties, which has then been partnered to the critical fatigue performance of HSS grades.


Daniel J. Thomasa, Mark T. Whittakera, Gary W. Brightb, Yi Gaoc
a. Materials Research Centre, School of Engineering, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, UK
b. Corus Research, Development & Technology, Engineering Centre for Manufacturing and Materials, Heol Cefn Gwrgan, Port Talbot, UK
c. Corus Automotive Engineering, Warwick University Central Campus, Coventry, UK

Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Volume 211, Issue 2, 1 February 2011, pp 263-274 doi:10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2010.09.018