Laser gas assisted melting of alumina surface is carried out and temperature as well as stress fields developed in the irradiated region are predicted using the finite element method (FEM). An experiment is conducted resembling the simulation conditions. Optical and scanning electron microscope (SEM) are used to examine the morphological and the metallurgical changes in the laser treated region. The X-ray diffraction (XRD) technique is used to determine the residual stress developed in the irradiated region. It is found that the residual stress predicted agreed with the measurement result. High heating and cooling rates result in high von Mises stress levels in the surface region. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.