This paper investigates laser beam welding of dissimilar AISI 304L and AISI 430 stainless steels. Experimental studies were focused on effects of laser power, welding speed, defocus distance, beam incident angle, and line energy on weld bead geometry and shearing force. Metallurgical analysis was conducted on a selected weld only to show various microstructures typically formed at different zones and consequent change in microhardness. Laser power and welding speed were the most significant factors affecting weld geometry and shearing force. All the bead characteristics but radial penetration depth decreased with increased beam incident angle. The focused beam allowed selecting lower laser power and faster welding speed to obtain the same weld geometry. Weld shape factor increased rapidly due to keyhole formation for line energy input ranging from 15 kJ/m to 17 kJ/m. Fusion zone microstructures contained a variety of complex austenite-ferrite structures. Local microhardness of fusion zone was greater than that of both base metals.
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