A Study on Through-the-Thickness Heating in Continuous Ultrasonic Welding of Thermoplastic Composites

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Continuous ultrasonic welding is a promising technique for joining thermoplastic composites structures together. The aim of this study was to gain further insight into what causes higher through-the-thickness heating in continuous ultrasonic welding of thermoplastic composites as compared to the static process. Thermocouples were used to measure temperature evolutions at the welding interface and within the adherends. To understand the mechanisms causing the observed temperature behaviours, the results were compared to temperature measurements from an equivalent static welding process and to the predictions from a simplified heat transfer model. Despite the significantly higher temperatures measured at the welding interface for the continuous process, viscoelastic bulk heat generation and not thermal conduction from the interface was identified as the main cause of higher through-the-thickness heating in the top adherend. Interestingly the top adherend seemed to absorb most of the vibrational energy in the continuous process as opposed to a more balanced energy share between the top and bottom adherend in the static process. Finally, the higher temperatures at the welding interface in continuous ultrasonic welding were attributed to pre-heating of the energy director due to the vibrations being transmitted downstream of the sonotrode, to reduced squeeze-flow of energy director due to the larger adherend size, and to heat flux originating downstream as the welding process continues.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • fusion bonding
  • heat transfer
  • energy director
  • CF/PPS
  • joining
  • high-frequency welding


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