Evaluation of the Joining Response of Biodegradable Polylactic Acid (PLA) from Fused Deposition Modeling by Infrared Laser Irradiation
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DepartmentIngeniería Mecánica y Diseño Industrial
SourcePolymers 2020, 12(11), 2479
The development of high-complexity geometry parts is one of the main goals of additive manufacturing technology. However, the failure of printed structures and the joining of different parts to create complex assemblies represents a real challenge in the research of efficient and sustainability techniques for the permanent assembly of polymers. Laser welding processes have been used as a single-step method to join metals for years. Nowadays, the growing trend in the use of thermoplastics for additive manufacturing has led to the need to adapt this technique to materials with a very specific nature and which are more sensitive to thermal effects. In addition, the possibility of transmitting the laser beam through transparent polymer layers allows to us focus the energy supply on internal sections of the assembled components. In this research, an infrared laser marking system was used to join two different samples of polylactic acid manufactured by fused deposited modeling technology. In order to increase the effectiveness of the bonding process, a transparent and a dark sample have been used as assembly material, focusing the laser beam on the interface area of the two parts. By means of tensile tests, dimensional measurement and the use of optical microscopy techniques, a basis was established that links the supplied energy by laser to the joining performance.