“A combined experimental and numerical approach to the laser joining of hybrid Polymer – Metal parts”
A two-step method for the joining of opaque polymer to metal is presented. Firstly, the metal is structured locally on a micro-scale level, to ensure adhesion with the polymeric counterpart. In a second step, the opposite side of the micro-structured metal is irradiated by means of a laser source.
The heat thereby created is conducted by the metal and results in the melting of the polymer at the interface. The polymer thereby adheres to the metal and flows into the previously engraved structures, creating an additional mechanical interlock between the two materials. The welding parameters are fine-tuned with the assistance of a finite element model, to ensure the required interface temperature. The method is illustrated using a dual phase steel joined to a fiber-reinforced polyamide. The effect of different microstructures, in particular geometry and cavity aspect ratio, on the joint’s tensile-shear mechanical performance is discussed.