Effect of laser surface treatment on surface and bonding properties of carbon fiber reinforced composites


Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) is widely used in the aerospace and automotive industries due to their light weight and high strength. The effective joining method of CFRP is bonding, and the surface state of CFRP is the main reason that affects the shear strength of the bonded joints. In order to improve the surface state of CFRP and shear strength, this paper systematically studied the effects of different power (80 W, 120 W, 180 W) laser treatment on the surface characteristics and bonding performance of CFRP and compared with the mechanical treatment (alcohol ultrasonic cleaned, sandpaper sanding). Four different adhesives were used in the adhesive joints, which were performed lap-shear tests. The SEM, XPS and contact angle measuring instrument were used to analyze the changes of physicochemical properties of CFRP after different surface treatment. The results showed that compared with alcohol cleaned and sandpaper sanding, 120 W laser treatment greatly improved the surface roughness of CFRP and formed micron-sized gaps. The water contact angle was reduced from 85° to 59.5°, and the surface energy increased from 25.6 mJ/m2 to 62.7 mJ/m2. The lap-shear results showed that the shear strength of the epoxy joints was improved after laser treatment, and the failure type was changed from interface failure to substrate failure. The polyurethane joint shear strength was not obviously improved and the combination failure of interface and cohesion was transformed into a pure interface failure after surface treatment.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the support received through Huayu Automotive Body Components Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., and SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC Motor), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (51871154).

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Correspondence to Liang Kong.

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Liu, L., Liu, X., Kong, L. et al. Effect of laser surface treatment on surface and bonding properties of carbon fiber reinforced composites. Int J Mater Form 13, 885–895 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12289-019-01509-z

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  • CFRP
  • Laser treatment
  • Surface characteristics
  • Epoxy adhesive
  • Polyurethane adhesive