Glue-free assembly of glass fiber reinforced thermoplastics using laser light
The use of laser light for bonding of continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites (CFTPC) offers new possibilities to overcome the constraints of conventional joining technologies. Laser bonding is environmentally friendly as no chemical additive or glue is necessary. Accuracy and flexibility of the laser process as well as the quality of the weld seams provide benefits which are already used in many industrial applications. Laser transmission welding has already been introduced in manufacturing of short fiber thermoplastic composites. The laser replaces hot air in tapelaying systems for pre-preg carbon fiber placement. The paper provides an overview concerning the technical basics of the joining process and outline some material inherent characteristics to be considered when using continuous glass fiber reinforced composites The technical feasibility and the mechanical characterization of laser bonded CFTPC are demonstrated. The influence of the different laye r configurations on the laser interaction with the material is investigated and the dependency on the mechanical strength of the weld seem is analyzed. The results show that the laser provides an alternative joining technique and offers new perspectives to assemble structural components emerging in automotive or aeronautical manufacturing. It overcomes the environmental and technical difficulties related to existing gluing processes.