Semester of Graduation

Summer 2022


Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

Document Type



Ultrasonic consolidation (USC) of thermoplastic composites (TPCs) is a highly attractive and promising method to manufacture high-performance composites. This work focuses on USC of dry carbon fiber (CF) fabrics with high-temperature polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) films. Experimental trials to assess feasibility of the process are time-consuming. Consequently, a predictive thermal model would facilitate process parameters selection to reduce expensive trial-and-error approaches. This paper presents a 2D finite element model of samples under consolidation, incorporating equations for viscoelastic heating, matrix phase change, and material properties. Theoretical temperature profiles for nodes of interest were compared to the corresponding experimental temperature curves for various control parameters (i.e., weld time and vertical displacement of sonotrode) and showed good agreement during heating phase. It was found that welding time values below 1500 ms were insufficient to reach melting temperature, whereas weld times above 3000 ms led to the lowest average void content (2.43 ± 0.81 %). More specifically, the time the material spent above melting temperature, i.e., residence time, was established as a parameter that could estimate cases resulting in better consolidation and lower void content (time above 2600 ms for void content below 2.5 %). Overall, the thermal model and micro-structural outcomes confirmed the feasibility of the USC process for layered composites made from dry fabric and high-temperature thermoplastic films.



Committee Chair

Palardy, Genevieve