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Comeld (TM) - an innovation in composite to metal joining

Connect, no. 129, March/April 2004, p.3

Load versus displacement traces for conventionally joined parts and parts joined using the Comeld process
Load versus displacement traces for conventionally joined parts and parts joined using the Comeld process

Historically, the composite to metal joint has presented significant design challenges to achieve high levels of mechanical performance. Thus designers have been reticent to design structures incorporating joints or have adopted highly conservative designs that increase weight and negate some of the benefits of using composite materials.

TWI has developed a proprietary material surface treatment technique and joining process, called Comeld TM offering the potential for joints to be made between fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) composite materials and metals with enhanced performance. In initial tests, planar cross-joint tensile specimens exhibit failure in a consistent and predictable manner in the metal part of the sample rather than at the joint or in the composite as shown in the diagram.

A group sponsored project (GSP) is being launched to investigate the application of this new technique to a range of metal/composite material combinations. It will also assess, in detail, joint characteristics and performance against the requirements of production parts from a number of industries including aerospace, marine, motor sport, military and specialist construction.

The project as proposed will be of 24 months duration and the estimated price is £400,000. It is planned to form a group of a minimum of eight companies each contributing £25,000 (excluding VAT where applicable) per year for two years.

For more information on Comeld or the proposed project contact Ewen Kellar ewen.kellar@twi.co.uk

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