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RESEARCH PAPERS

Laser Transmission Welding of Thermoplastics—Part II: Experimental Model Validation

[+] Author and Article Information
James D. Van de Ven

Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 111 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455vandeven@me.umn.edu

Arthur G. Erdman

Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Minnesota, 111 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455agerdman@me.umn.edu

K-Mac Plastics, 3821 Clay Ave. SW, Wyoming, MI 49548.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 129(5), 859-867 (May 03, 2007) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2752832 History: Received April 17, 2007; Revised May 03, 2007

Two laser transmission welding experiments involving polyvinyl chloride are presented that aim to validate a previously presented welding model while helping to further understand the relationship between welding parameters and weld quality. While numerous previous research papers have presented the results of laser welding experiments, there exists minimal work validating models of the welding process. The first experiment explores the interaction of laser power and welding velocity while the second experiment explores the influence of clamping pressure. Using the weld width as the primary model output, the agreement between the welding experiments and the model have an average error of 5.6%. This finding strongly supports the validity of the model presented in Part I of this two paper set (Van de Ven and Erdman, 2007, ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 129, pp. 849–858). Additional information was gained regarding the operating window for laser transmission welding and the thermal decomposition of polyvinyl chloride. Clamping pressure was found to provide a small, but not statistically significant, influence on the visual appearance, weld width, and weld strength.

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Copyright © 2007 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Diode laser system, which utilizes an x-y gantry table (photo courtesy of Aim Controls)

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Figure 2

T-joint geometry with the associated dimensions in millimeters. The “transparent” part forms the top of the T, while the “absorptive” part forms the stem of the T.

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Figure 3

Solid model of the welding fixture used to create the T-joint geometry

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Figure 4

Photograph of the welding fixture mounted to the welding table. A description of the fixture based on the lower figure: the arms pivot at the far right of the photograph. The “absorbing” part is placed in a slot approximately 2in. from the pivot and the “transparent” part is placed on top of this part in a T-joint. This “transparent” part is held in place by a rotating carriage, which is the second pivot on the pair of arms. On the far left side of the arms, a precision spring is used to apply pressure. By compressing the spring a specified amount, a known load is applied, allowing the clamping pressure in the weld zone to also be known.

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Figure 5

Photograph of the welding fixture mounted to the welding table. A description of the fixture based on the lower figure: the arms pivot at the far right of the photograph. The “absorbing” part is placed in a slot approximately 2in. from the pivot and the “transparent” part is placed on top of this part in a T-joint. This “transparent” part is held in place by a rotating carriage, which is the second pivot on the pair of arms. On the far left side of the arms, a precision spring is used to apply pressure. By compressing the spring a specified amount, a known load is applied, allowing the clamping pressure in the weld zone to also be known.

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Figure 6

Fixture and grip used to determine the weld failure force of the T-joint samples

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Figure 7

Examples of three different visual ratings for the welded “T” samples. The left photo receives an aesthetic “good” rating. Note the uniform weld that is free of any visual signs of thermal decomposition. In the center photo, the weld exhibits decomposition along the centerline and receives a “medium decomposition” rating. The weld on the right receives a “tapering” rating as the weld starts at a decent width, but the width tapers toward the far side of the sample. For reference, the aesthetic quality is not fully captured in these photographs and is much easier to distinguish directly from the samples.

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Figure 8

Weld width as a function of velocity and laser power

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Figure 9

Average weld width as a function of line energy, defined as the laser power divided by the welding velocity

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Figure 10

Calculated weld strength as a function of velocity and laser power

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Figure 11

Calculated weld strength as a function of line energy

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Figure 12

Model output of the factor level combination of 19W and 0.05m∕s. The samples welded at this condition did display slight thermal decomposition.

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Figure 13

Average weld width for each pressure level. The error bars equate to the standard deviation of the mean.

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Figure 14

Average calculated weld strength as a function of clamping pressure. The error bars in the plot are the standard deviation of the mean.

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