During the last few decades there has been substantial work carried out with the aim of understanding the process of resistive implant welding of thermoplastic composites, primarily looking at the characterisation of the weld. However, one area which needed further development is the 'scale up-ability' of this process. This has recently been addressed in a DTI-funded research project, carried out by TWI, University of Southampton, VT Halmatic, Supacat, RNLI,BF Entron, Saint Gobain and Lloyd's Register.
Initial work carried out at TWI has shown that it is possible to resistive implant weld 'Twintex' (a co-mingled glass fibre and polypropylene composite produced by Saint-Gobain Vetrotex) using vacuum rather than a mechanical clamp to Apple pressure to the this weld. This allows a much easier and more cost-effective method of welding.
Single lap shear tests at different locations on a 900mm long weld showed small variations in strength and the results were generally better than those obtained with adhesively bonded samples. The next stage is to produce weld lengths of 1500mm, with the ultimate objective to resistive implant weld a critical area between the deck and the hull of a small sized Twintex composite boat.
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