Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Novel laser welding of plastic materials

Laser welding techniques to join two components of a composite material are quite common, given speed, accuracy and flexibility, but they have not been easily applied to welding of plastics (polymers) due to inherent difficulties associated with the properties of the materials. A team of EU-funded researchers overcame these issues, opening the way for development of new and improved plastic composite materials with potential economic benefits for European industry and consumers alike.
Novel laser welding of plastic materials
Laser welding requires the use of compatible materials to ensure a stable seam when cooled and, as such, has seen limited use in the plastics field. The ‘Development of a new laser welding technique for joining different types of polymers’ (Plasweld) project was designed to create an innovative method enabling welding of chemically incompatible plastic materials while further speeding up the process by decreasing the most time-consuming aspects of the laser welding technique, namely dispensing and assembling activities.

The Plasweld research consortium reached its goal by employing a polymeric absorbing inter-layer (carbon black) applied with a state-of-the-art dispensing system. The absorbing inter-layer essentially facilitated controllable and uniform melting of the components to aid in stable seam formation. The researchers optimised all parameters associated with the materials, the injection and overinjection steps, and the laser welding process itself.

The consortium thus contributed a novel technology enabling laser welding of incompatible polymers that simultaneously decreases process time. The outcomes should find broad application and open up a new field for development of plastic composite materials.

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