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Material Science Chemistry for Plastics Laser Marking

SpecialChem / Oct 2, 2007

Practitioners often assume that laser material additives are required for all plastics laser marking applications. However, depending upon the type of plastic to be laser marked and its end-use requirements for contrast and sharp/fine-line quality detail, it may not always be necessary to utilize laser optimized material formulations. Instead, proper selection of the wavelength and type of laser will achieve the requisite degree of markability. The results will be determined by factors such as: 1. specific grade and properties of the resin; 2. type of laser (wavelength, beam quality output mode, optical configuration, power density, peak/average power, marking speed); 3. colorant & filler components; 4. gloss and surface texture; and 5. regrind content. As discussed during the first E-training Seminar presented February 28, 2007, colorant compounds such as TiO2 and Carbon Black possess some degree of absorption properties at particular wavelengths. Particle size and jetness of these compounds are also factors. Further, we discussed that specific resin grades, even within the same generic family, can produce very different results, e.g., Styrenics.

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