Independent Minds, Working Together

Kent Displays Inc.


Using Lasers to Cut Plastic Film

Student Researchers: Deepika Sundarraman and Elliot Wainwright

Faculty Advisors: Drew Pasteur (Math) and Susan Lehman (Physics)

In this project students served as consultants for Kent Displays Incorporated in an attempt to help them better understand a CO2 laser cutting process of their polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film used to make Boogie Boards. Using Matlab, Excel, Mathematica, and other computational software, a model of the heat transfer process, including ablation of the material due to excessive energy from the laser, was written with the flexibility to change certain laser and material parameters and see the effect of the cutting. Welding strength of the heated material was also considered. The project involved knowledge of the physical and thermal processes, of numerical analysis, and the ability to quickly learn about a complicated process and computational techniques.