Laser cutting of alumina tiles is carried out, and the temperature and stress fields developed in the cutting section are predicted numerically using ABAQUS finite element code. The morphological changes along the cut edge surfaces are examined using the optical and scanning electron microscopes. The residual stress formed in the cutting section is obtained after incorporating the XRD technique. The residual stress predicted is compared with the experimental data. It is found that the residual stress predicted agrees well with the experimental results. The dross attachment at the kerf exit is observed, which is associated with the high melting temperature of the workpiece. (c) 2012 The Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.