Laser forming or laser bending is a newly developed, flexible technique which modifies the curvature of sheet metal by thermal residual stresses instead of external forces. The process is influenced by many parameters such as laser parameters, material properties and specimen dimensions. In this work, a pulsed Nd:YLF laser was used as the energy source. The laser beam was focused into a line shape irradiating on the stainless steel specimen to induce bending. The bending angle was measured at various processing conditions. A finite element analysis was performed with the use of a 2-D plane strain model to simulate the temperature field and the thermo-elasto-plastic deformation process. Experimental measurement and computational results were in good agreement. Numerical sensitivity studies were performed to evaluate the effects of the unavailable material property data at high temperature. It was found that both optical reflectivity and thermal expansion coefficient influenced the bending angle significantly, while other extrapolated material properties at high temperatures yielded acceptable results.

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