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Product Code: ICAL07_1105

New Applications of Laser Welding in the Field of Thermoplastic Polymer Composites
Stephane Abed, Clfa Fraunhofer Ilt; Evry France
Wolfgang Knapp, Clfa Fraunhofer Ilt; Paris France
Presented at ICALEO 2007

Laser beam welding of thermoplastic polymers offers innovative solutions to overcome limitations of conventional joining technologies. These benefits are used in more and more industrial applications due to the accuracy and flexibility of the process and the quality of the weld seams. To meet industrial requirements specific welding procedures (contour, quasi-simultaneous or simultaneous) or adapted materials (color) have already been developed. In parallel new sectors of industrial applications arise such as welding of thermoplastic polymer composite. Polymer composites materials are made of long and continuous fibers (40 to 60 % in weight) included in a polymer matrix. In most cases this polymer matrix is a thermoset resin and usually those materials are joined using glue or mechanical fixing. These new materials represent a breakthrough in the development of thermo-formable engineering of composite applications (high performances, recyclability, cost, flexibility). Several investigations have shown that laser welding is an alternative joining technique and offers new perspectives for applications emerging in automotive or aeronautical production. The presentation will provide an overview concerning the technical basics of the joining process and outline some material inherent characteristics to be considered. Recent developments in the field of laser welding of thermoplastic composites will be presented.

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