WE Colloquium: Blake McAllister, Hybrid Laser-Arc Welding of Spent Nuclear Fuel Container
Hybrid laser arc welding (HLAW) is the combination of a high energy density laser heat source and an arc welding process such as gas metal arc welding (GMAW) into a single molten weld puddle. Process advantages such as reduced heat input, productivity, distortion, and simplified pre- and post-weld processing can be associated with Hybrid Laser Arc Welding. These advantages, and their potential cost savings, make the process attractive to many metal fabricators across multiple industries. A brief overview of the HLAW process is presented and its specific application for generating hermitic seals on nuclear waste storage vessels intended for long-term, deep geological burial. In this study, metallurgical challenges led to atypical processing techniques that were necessary to counteract inherent challenges with the HLAW process.
Blake McAllister has extensive technical expertise in high-powered laser materials processing. Since joining EWI as a technician in 2007, he has become an authority in laser materials processing applications with the use of both high- and low-power lasers including Nd:YAG, Yb-fiber, Disk, and CO2, with a specialty in high-power solid-state lasers up to 20-KW.
Blake has advanced processing techniques for high-power laser welding, large-scale directed energy deposition (DED), laser cutting and drilling, laser paint stripping, optics design and beam analysis, laser-wire welding, laser cladding, and hybrid laser-arc welding for a variety of materials including steel, stainless steel, titanium, nickel, and super alloys.
Blake currently manages four engineering technology groups at EWI: Laser Processing, Additive Manufacturing, Arc Welding, and Design, Controls, and Automation (DCA).