A contractor working for me on a steel construction project is using a steel product they refer to as 'laser plate' which is marketed as specifically as having good performance on laser cutters. This doesn't appear to be a trade name, but a colloquial term. Looking at the material, it has little to no mill scale, but doesn't look quite as clean or shiny as other plate I've seen sold as 'hot rolled, pickled and oiled.' The contractor assured me that the plate conforms to ASTM A36, which is all my project requires, and I'm requesting a mill certificate to confirm that.

Provided it is certed for A36, are there any special concerns I should have about this special steel? In general do steels marketed for lasercutting have a different chemical composition, or do they just have the mill scale removed? The closest source I've been able to find is here, (PDF) which suggests that lower silicon may have some influence but mostly just in how it affects mill scale adhesion.

To be clear, I'm only asking about the type of material. I'm familiar with concerns relating to laser cutting as a process and am not concerned about it.

The plates they are using range from 3/16" thick to 1/2" thick and the plates will be welded according to AWS D1.1.

  • $\begingroup$ What is your major concern with the material? You state "special concerns," but don't say specifically what you're worried about in regards to the material's chemical composition. $\endgroup$
    – grfrazee
    Jul 14, 2015 at 12:40

1 Answer 1


CO2 lasers are not able to cut highly-reflective materials, for reasons which should be obvious to anyone who has shone a laser pointer into a mirror. It may be that the "laser plate" is just duller than regular plate, or has some other surface finish conducive to laser cutting.

If the steel is certified as A36, I can't see how there will be chemical concerns that would interfere with weldability in regards to D1.1.


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