Static ultrasonic welding of carbon fibre unidirectional thermoplastic materials and the influence of heat generation and heat transfer

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Abstract

Ultrasonic welding is a promising technology to join fibre-reinforced thermoplastic composites. While current studies are mostly limited to fabric materials the applicability to unidirectional materials, as found in aerospace structures, would offer opportunities for joining primary aircraft structures. However, due to the highly anisotropic flow of a molten unidirectional ply undesired squeeze flow phenomena can occur at the edges of the weld overlap. This paper investigates how the fibre orientation in the plies adjacent to the weld line influences the welding process and the appearance of edge defects. Ultrasonic welding experiments with different layups and energy director configurations were carried out while monitoring temperatures at different locations inside and outside the weld overlap. The joints were characterized by single lap shear tests, analysis of corresponding fracture surfaces and microscopic cross-sections. Results showed that the anisotropic flow and the anisotropic thermal conductivity of the plies adjacent to the weld line have a distinct effect on the appearance and location of edge defects. By using energy directors that cover only part of the weld overlap area a new approach was developed to mitigate edge defects caused by the highly directional properties of the unidirectional plies.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Composite Materials
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • edge defects
  • energy director
  • fusion bonding
  • Thermoplastic composites
  • unidirectional fibres

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