A study on surface texture and wettability of femtosecond laser treated aluminum alloys


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This research aims to study the effects of femtosecond laser treatment on surface texture and wettability properties. The first portion of this research studies 2024-T3 aluminum alloy concerning surface texture (e.g., roughness), wettability, and surface free energy. SEM images help aid the researchers in detecting minuscule changes in surface texture. Profilometry extracts topographical data from the surface. A contact angle goniometer measures contact angle, which follows the sessile drop method. Owens, Wendt, Rabel, and Kaelble's method calculates the surface free energy in conjunction with the contact angle. Femtosecond laser modification produces relatively uniform surface morphology at the macroscale. When looking at the microscale, surface morphology differs depending on the interplay between material melting and self-assembly, where the surface becomes rougher after laser treatment. Contact angle results show that all but the control sample and sample 7 exhibit hydrophobic behavior, i.e., contact angle >90°, with Sample 1 having the most significant angle of 115°. The effects of laser parameters on surface energy is apparent. More work is needed to establish correlations among these three quantities: contact angle, surface energy, and laser parameters. The second portion of this research studies aluminum alloy 6061 as the subject material with the primary goal of creating a superhydrophobic surface. A central composite design creates the laser surface texturing design of experiments. SEM images help aid the researchers in detecting minuscule changes in surface texture. A 3D optical profiler extracts topographical data from the surface. The sessile drop method incorporates a contact angle goniometer to measure the contact angle. The response surface method builds a second-order polynomial model for the contact angle and obtains optimized parameters to maximize the contact angle. This research shows that laser surface texturing can generate a wide range of surface profiles and roughness values with geometric features ranging from hundreds of µm to submicron. All three laser parameters (pulse energy, pulse duration, repetition rate) affect surface roughness and contact angle to some degree. To quantify the relationship between the contact angle, pulse energy, and pulse repetition rate, a response surface model for Al 6061 is identified and used to find the optimal conditions of E=214 μJ, tp=10 ps, and fp=2427 Hz with a predicted maximum contact angle of 161°. A confirmation experiment produces a contact angle of 168°, in good agreement with the predicted value.



Surface free energy, Femtosecond laser, Surface modification, Surface texture, Surface wettability, Aluminum alloys, Central composite design, Contact angle, Surface roughness, Surface profiles, Goniometer, Laser processing, Laser parameters, Response surface model

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Master of Science


Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Major Professor

Shuting Lei