Feasibility study of friction spot welding of dissimilar single-lap joint between poly(methyl methacrylate) and poly(methyl methacrylate)-SiO2 nanocomposite


In this work, the feasibility of friction spot welding (FSpW) of a commercial poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) GS grade and a PMMA 6 N/2 wt% silica (SiO2) nanocomposite was investigated. Single-lap joints welded at rotational speeds of 1000, 2000 and 3000 rpm were produced. The analysis of the joint microstructure and material flow pattern indicated that joints could be produced using all of the tested welding conditions. However, the joint produced at 1000 rpm displayed sharp weld lines (weak links), indicating insufficient heat input, while the welds produced at 3000 rpm displayed excessive plastic deformation (bulging of the bottom plate), volumetric defects and a lack of material mixing in the welded area, associated with higher heat input. The weld produced at a rotational speed of 2000 rpm resulted in improved material mixing, which was indicated by the absence of weld lines and volumetric defects due to the more correct heat input. This welding condition was selected for further mechanical testing. Lap shear testing of PMMA GS/PMMA 6 N/2 wt% SiO2 nanocomposite single lap joints welded at 2000 rpm resulted in an average ultimate lap shear strength of 3.9 ± 0.05 MPa. These weld strength values are equal to or better than those obtained using state-of-the-art welding techniques for PMMA materials, thereby demonstrating the potential of friction spot welding for thermoplastic nanocomposites.
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