Reference : Optimierung und Charakterisierung einer mittels Laserstrahl gefügten Verbindung zwisc...
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Engineering, computing & technology : Materials science & engineering
Engineering, computing & technology : Mechanical engineering
Optimierung und Charakterisierung einer mittels Laserstrahl gefügten Verbindung zwischen Aluminium und Polyamid 6.6
Lamberti, Christian mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Science, Technology and Communication (FSTC) > Engineering Research Unit >]
University of Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Docteur en Sciences de l'Ingénieur
Plapper, Peter mailto
Odenbreit, Christoph mailto
Greger, Manfred mailto
Kreisel, Jens mailto
Possart, Wulff mailto
Houssiau, Laurent mailto
[en] The creation of strong joints between dissimilar materials and in particular between polymers and metals is one of the most often discussed topics in the fields of automotive, aerospace and transportation. Especially the combination of polyamide and aluminum is of highest interest, due to their market share as construction materials. New joining concepts are anticipated to deliver strong, durable and resource efficient structural components that are ideally suited for lightweight designs. However, current research activities have shown that the highly distinct material properties of these materials pose enormous challenges on the creation of hybrid structures.

The cause that potentially enables the connection between the aluminum surface and the polymer is still not fully understood. The research objective of the presented work, therefore is, on the one hand, to create an optimal joint between aluminum and polyamide 6.6 using a laser beam to reach high shear strength for an industrial application. On the other hand, the presented work seeks to deliver a substantial contribution to furtherly understand the interaction between the polymer and the metal surface during the thermal joining.

A laser-based joining method was developed that enables the researchers to overcome limitations of conventional processes, that is minimizing space requirements, making the application of additional gaskets obsolete, reaching high strength, saving weight and reducing processing time. The effectiveness of different surface pre-treatments has been studied, and the described optimization of this method has lead to an increase of the shear strength of the joints by more than 100 %. Laser ablation and the hydrothermal treatment of the metallic surface, before the joining operation, lead to the highest joint strength. The surface pre-treatment method of laser ablation delivered to transfer the gathered insights and experience from the laboratory to the industrial scale, due to its repeatability and reproducibility. The experiment mentioned above includes the use of production materials, such as aluminum with a higher sheet thickness of up to 1.48 mm and glass fiber reinforced polymer. Shear strength of 40 MPa was reached in quasi-static single lap shear tests. During dynamic testing, samples maintained 63 % of static breaking load after one million cycles.

The hydrothermal treatment of the aluminum surface leads to a lower surface roughness of Ra = 1.58 µm in average as opposed to 4.90 µm after laser ablation. Due to the lower roughness values, the first-mentioned method was chosen to study the interaction. An XPS-analysis revealed a strong influence of the surface pre-treatment method on the chemical composition of the metal surface, which becomes noticeable by hydroxylation of the surface layer and is expressed by the oxide ratio (O/Al) and hydroxide ratio (OH/O). A high O/Al ratio of 2.36 and an OH/O ratio of 0.63 after the hydrothermal treatment is showing a strong increase of the amount of hydroxide in direct comparison to values of 35 % and 36 % of OH/O ratio after ethanol and hexane cleaning respectively.

The question, as to which extent the presence of such hydroxide structures at the boundary layer of the aluminum influence the interaction between the metal surface and the polymer, was a subject matter of an additional FT-IR analysis. In case of the infrared spectra from thin polymer films on the hydrothermally treated surface, clear indications of interaction are visible. In direct comparison to the infrared spectra from polymer films on either ethanol or hexane cleaned surfaces, this interaction seems to increase nearby of the interface further. The interaction mentioned above appears at the carbonyl band and amine band as a shift of 4 cm-1 and 8 cm-1 and an increase of the full width at half maximum by 35 % respectively 40 %. Additional strong differences are visible at the molecule vibrations below 1,200 cm-1, which are typically assigned to both crystalline phases and amorphous phases of the polyamide. In case of the hydrothermal treatment, collected data indicates a polymorphous state inside the polymer films, which seems to become increasingly disordered close to the interface. On the contrary, spectra from the polymer films on ethanol and hexane pre-treated substrates show only marginal changes. Methods are proposed to build upon the results described in this work and refine distinct signs of the interaction.

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