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Numerical analysis of thermoplastic composites laser welding using ray tracing method

: Cosson, B.; Deleglise, M.; Knapp, W.


Composites. Part B, Engineering 68 (2015), S.85-91
ISSN: 1359-8368
ISSN: 1879-1069
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Laser technology is a good alternative for continuous joining of thermoplastics composites structures. Presence of continuous fibers at a high fiber volume fraction (superior to 30%) does not allow using traditional development as for pure thermoplastic materials, due to the presence of fiber clusters or polymer rich areas. Those heterogeneities induce macroscopic light scattering through the structure, reducing the resulting energy level absorbed at the welding interface. The study proposed here takes into account the real microstructure of the composite in order to evaluate changes in local energy diffusion directly linked with local fiber arrangements. The objective of this work is to develop an affordable numerical simulation of the laser welding process modeled with adapted physics mechanism and taking into account the microstructure heterogeneity of the considered materials regarding optical and thermal properties. To model the optical path of the laser beam through the composite fibrous structure, a simulation tool based on geometrical optic is developed. Weldability is considered on composites with different thicknesses, showing the non linear relationship between welding energy and substrate thickness.