The new laser technology is in the process of injection molding!

HC Plastics News:

The automotive and aerospace industries often need to design lightweight materials in order to save costs. Lightweight materials often require different types of materials, such as metals and polymers, to be combined, which greatly increases manufacturing costs. Recent work has shown that the use of laser technology increases the bond strength of metal and plastic hybrid materials. Engineers have bonded plastics to aluminum by pre-treating aluminum sheets with infrared lasers. They elaborated on their work in the Journal of Laser Applications. Below are two scanned images, (a) the aluminum chip at the edge of the CW laser structure and (b) the aluminum remaining in the groove of the molded polymer surface after the tensile shear test.

The new laser technology is in the process of injection molding!

The new laser technology is in the process of injection molding!

As developers in the automotive and aerospace industries continue to push for more efficient vehicles, people are now working on designing rugged, lightweight machines. However, designing lightweight materials requires combining different types of materials, such as metals and polymers, and these additional steps increase manufacturing costs. Recent work has shown that the use of laser technology increases the bond strength of metal and plastic hybrid materials.

A German research team engineer recently invented a technique for bonding plastic to aluminum by pretreating an aluminum plate with an infrared laser. Their results were published in the journal Journal of Laser Applications. The researchers found that roughening the aluminum surface with a continuous laser beam produced a mechanical interlock with the thermoplastic polyamide, resulting in significant strong adhesion.

One of the authors, Jana Gebauer, said: "In other joining methods, we usually need a plastic part we want to work with metal parts. In the injection molding process, we create plastic parts directly on the top of the metal parts in the machine cavity. This is very difficult due to the specific thermal conditions compared to hot pressing or other joining techniques."

To solve these problems, Gebauer and her colleagues used a continuous laser and a pulse of 20 picoseconds per surface on the surface of the aluminum plate to make the surface of the aluminum plate more viscous to mold the polyamide layer thereon. They then placed the sheet into an injection mold and overmolded with a thermoplastic polyamide, a nylon-related polymer commonly used in mechanical parts such as power tool housings, machine screws and gears.

Gebauer said: "After we analyzed the surface morphology of the aluminum plate and mechanically tested the bonding behavior to find out which parameters can achieve the maximum bond strength."

Test results using an optical three-dimensional confocal microscope and a scanning electron microscope have shown that a smoother line pattern is formed in the groove of the aluminum plate treated by the pulsed laser compared to the morphology in the groove of the continuous laser-pretreated aluminum plate. Aluminum sheets treated with an infrared laser also exhibit greater adhesion, but as the moisture content increases, these properties are degraded.

Despite the success of the team, Gebauer believes that there is still a lot of work to do to understand how to optimize the pretreatment of metal surfaces to make the manufacturing process more economical. Now, she and her colleagues are studying how the molded thermoplastic shrinks as it cools.

Gebauer said: "The heat shrinkage leads to the generation of mechanical stress, which separates the two parts. The challenge now is to find a structure to compensate for the stress generated during the shrinkage process, while requiring that this structure does not cause aluminum due to laser processing. Softening. Currently we want to use a very short pulse laser to produce a reliable bond to reduce the thermal damage of metal parts."

Editor in charge: Yao Chunlin

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