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Polymer-steel-sandwich-structures: Influence of process parameters on the composite strength

: Lohr, C.; Muth, M.; Dreher, R.; Zinn, C.; Elsner, P.; Weidenmann, K.A.


Hausmann, J.M.:
22nd Symposium on Composites 2019 : Selected, peer reviewed papers from the 22nd Symposium on Composites, June 26-28, 2019, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Durnten-Zurich: TTP, 2019 (Key engineering materials 809)
ISBN: 978-3-0357-1453-1 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-0357-2453-0
ISBN: 978-3-0357-3453-9
Symposium on Composites <22, 2019, Kaiserslautern>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ICT ()

As the demand of the automotive and aerospace industries for lightweight and cost effective materials increases, it is necessary to combine different materials with respect to their lightweight and functional properties. The combination of polymer-steel-sandwich composites - which consist of a polymer core structure (transferring shear loads) and two metal face-layers (absorbing tensile and compression loads occurring at bending) - suite the need of minimizing weight per area under bending loads. The reduction of process steps can be achieved by connecting the face layers and core in-situ via an in-mold assembly process using variothermal processing. The injection mold hereby is heated near the melt temperature of the polymer with a variothermal water processing unit. Via contact heating inserted steel blanks are heated to the same temperature as the mold. This process enables the combination of the metal surface with the polymer core by infiltrating the micro or nano scale structure, which is generated by laser structuring or nano coating. Through the increased mold/blank surface temperature induced via variothermal heating the melt viscosity is lowered. This decreasing viscosity of the polymer melt hereby enables a higher degree of infiltration of the laser structured and nano coated blanks. This improved infiltration behavior is a key factor for the adhesion of the sandwich components and beneficial for the composites strength. Within this work two steel blanks are inserted into the mold to manufacture sandwich structures with steel face layers and a polymer (here: polylactidacid; PLA) core. As these sandwich composites are prone to bending failure, the 4-point-bending test is used to characterize the mechanical properties of this hybrid structure. The two surface treatments will also be compared concerning their mechanical interface properties with a shear edge test. The additional reduction on the polymer melt viscosity by means of gas inducing with chemical blowing agent is investigated on the laser structured surfaces only. To investigate the influence of the polymers melts viscosity on the bonding properties chemical blowing agent is added for some blanks.