Friction Stir Welding Assisted Induction Welding of Fiber Reinforced Polymers


Reference #: 01074

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for Friction Stir Welding Assisted Induction Welding of Fiber Reinforced Polymers


Thermoplastic matrix composites (TPMC) have several advantages over thermosetting composites (TSMC). They are re-processable and joints between TPMC parts can be made by fusion bonding, creating cohesive joints that are in many ways preferable over the adhesive and mechanical joints used for assembly of TSMC structures. Even though industrial applications have shown that thin-walled TPMC shells can be built effectively using manual lay-up or fiber placement followed by autoclave-based consolidation, and joints between skins, spars and ribs can be created effectively using induction welding, wider application of welded TPMC to practical structural applications is hampered by the cost of TPMC compared with TSMC.

Invention Description:

The invention comprises an enhanced welding technology for continuous fiber reinforced plastic that combines induction heating, welding pressure and process sensors in a single automated welding head. It allows buildup of composite structures from elementary parts like plates and strips. Tooling and jig costs, as well as the development lead-time for currently used induction welding, can be drastically reduced with the invention.

Potential Applications:

The technology can be used to produce aircraft fuselage shells, wing covers, flap covers, covers for horizontal and vertical tails, floor grids etc.

Advantages and Benefits:

It will help the customer in reducing the cost and lead time of composite assembly manufacture. The technology allows for welding of thermoset structures with thermoplastic implants as well as for welding of full thermoplastic composites. It eliminates the need for autoclave use and expensive tooling.

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
Michel Van Tooren
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