Laser Welding of Continuous Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites
Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composites
(CFRTPCs) are increasingly being used in aerospace, automotive, and oil &
gas (O&G) due to their low cost, recyclability, complex shape adaptability,
high strength, and low weight. The CFRTPC market worldwide is projected to grow
by US$634.1 million, driven by a compounded growth of 8.3%. Continuous
Carbon Fiber displays the potential to grow at over 9%. The shifting dynamics
supporting this growth makes it critical for businesses in this space to keep abreast
of the changing pulse of the market. Poised to reach over US$717.9 million by
the year 2025, continuous carbon fiber will bring in healthy gains adding
significant momentum to global growth.
In June 2020, it was reported that CFRTPCs were tested on a
Bell V-280 Valor with successful flight results. Several
manufacturers are making CFRTPC pipelines for O&G transmission and
automotive companies are also considering them for cars and trucks.
Joining CFRTPC by metal fasteners or large swaging connectors is not desirable
due to the added weight, stress concentration, and corrosion, so other joining
processes are needed to realize their full benefits.
Joining CFRTPCs provides a new capability for EWI in the
growing composites industry. It can be implemented by the users of these
composites as a new manufacturing technique for joining and assembling
composites that yields strong, lightweight, and durable joints.
This picture shows a laser weld of continuous glass fiber reinformed nylon samples. Both samples contain multiple layers of the continuous glass. The black one contains carbon black to absorb the laser energy, while the white one has no filler and is transmissive to the laser. The weld is strong enough to withstand the hand peel test shown.
To learn more about EWI’s work in joining CFRTPCs and other composite materials, contact Jeff Ellis at [email protected]
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