Laser transmission joining (LTJ) is growing in importance, and has the potential to become a niche technique for the fabrication of hybrid plastic-metal joints for medical device applications. The possibility of directly joining plastics to metals by LTJ has been demonstrated by a number of recent studies. However, a reliable and quantitative method for defining the contact area between the plastic and metal, facilitating calculation of the mechanical shear stress of the hybrid joints, is still lacking. A new method, based on image analysis using ImageJ, is proposed here to quantify the contact area at the joint interface. The effect of discolouration on the mechanical performance of the hybrid joints is also reported for the first time. Biocompatible polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and commercially pure titanium (Ti) were selected as materials for laser joining using a 200 W CW fibre laser system. The effect of laser power, scanning speed and stand-off distance between the nozzle tip and top surface of the plastic were studied and analysed by Taguchi L9 orthogonal array and ANOVA respectively. The surface morphology, structure and elemental composition on the PET and Ti surfaces after shearing/peeling apart were characterized by SEM, EDX, XRD and XPS.
- Dissimilar materials joining, plastics to metal joining, laser joining, medical devices, PET, commercially pure Ti, contact area