A New Process Chain for Joining Sheet Metal to Fibre Composite Sheets
Mixed-Materials parts have great light-weight potential for the automotive application to reduce the carbon footprint. But the joining of fibre composite plastic sheets to metal sheets is in practical application limited to adhesive bonding or mechanical joining with additional fastener elements due to the large differences in physical properties. A new process chain based on plastic joining without fastener elements is proposed and first results on the mechanism and on the achievable strength of the new joints are shown. The process chain consists of three steps: First joining pins are added to the sheet metal by an additive manufacturing process. In a second step these pins are pierced through the fibre composite sheet with a local heating of the thermoplastic in an overlap setup. In the third and last step the joint is created by forming the pins with the upsetting process to create a shape lock. The shear strength of the joined specimens was tested in a tensile testing machine. The paper shows that even with a non-optimized initial setup joints can be realised and that the new process chain is a possible alternative to adhesive bonding.
R. Plettke et al., "A New Process Chain for Joining Sheet Metal to Fibre Composite Sheets", Key Engineering Materials, Vols. 611-612, pp. 1468-1475, 2014