Purpose – Ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) is a rapid prototyping process through which multiple thin layers of material are sequentially ultrasonically welded together to form a finished part. While previous research into the peak temperatures experienced during UAM have been documented, a thorough examination of the heating and cooling curves has not been conducted to date. Design/methodology/approach – For this study, UAM weldments made from aluminum 3003‐H18 tapes with embedded Type‐K thermocouples were examined. Finite element modeling was used to compare the theoretical thermal diffusion rates during heating to the observed heating patterns. A model was used to calculate the effective thermal diffusivity of the UAM build on cooling based on the observed cooling curves and curve fitting analysis. Findings – Embedded thermocouple data revealed simultaneous temperature increases throughout all interfaces of the UAM build directly beneath the sonotrode. Modeling of the heating curves revealed a delay of at least 0.5 seconds should have existed if heating of lower interfaces was a result of thermal diffusion alone. As this is not the case, it was concluded that ultrasonic energy is absorbed and converted to heat at every interface beneath the sonotrode. The calculated thermal diffusivity of the build on cooling was less than 1 percent of the reported values of bulk aluminum, suggesting that voids and oxides along interfaces throughout the build may be inhibiting thermal diffusion through thermal contact resistance across the interface. Originality/value – This work systematically analyzed the thermal profiles that develop during the UAM process. The simultaneous heating phenomenon presented here has not been documented by other research programs. The findings presented here will enable future researchers to develop more accurate models of the UAM process, potentially leading to improved UAM bond quality.
Rapid Prototyping Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 2, 2011
Keywords: Ultrasonics; Additive manufacturing; Thermocouples; Metals; Heat transfer