Continuous ultrasonic welding is an attractive welding technique for thermoplastic composite structures. In this process, a metallic sonotrode connected to a piezoelectric transducer and to a press moves along the parts to be welded applying ultrasonic vibrations and a static welding force on the welding overlap. Thus far, the research carried out on this topic makes use of sonotrodes featuring a flat contact surface with the parts to be welded, which limits the use of the process to the welding of overlaps with no curvature in the welding direction. With the final aim of assessing whether this process can also be applied to curved structures, this paper explores the feasibility of using a rounded sonotrode for continuous ultrasonic welding of thermoplastic composites. The main conclusions drawn from the results obtained in this research is that it is indeed possible to continuously weld thermoplastic composite panels with a rounded sonotrode and that high-quality welds can be obtained from such a process. Furthermore, the use of a rounded sonotrode has the positive effect of lowering the temperatures at the welding interface as well as the temperatures within the adherends. On the other hand, the use of such sonotrode leads to a decreased, although still competitive, welding speed and, potentially, an increased welding force, thereby setting boundary conditions that need to be considered for each specific application.
- Fusion bonding
- Continuous ultrasonic welding