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  1. Online repository: and also on: arXiv:2204.00909. Abstract: While welding of thermoplastic composites (TPCs) is a promising rivetless method to reduce weight, higher confidence in joints’ structural integrity and failure prediction must be achieved for widespread use in industry. In this work, we present an innovative study on damage detection for ultrasonically welded TPC joints with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) and embedded buckypaper films. MWCNTs show promise for structural health monitoring (SHM) of composite joints, assembled by adhesive bonding or fusion bonding, through electrical resistance changes. This study focuses on investigating multifunctional films and their suitability for ultrasonic welding (USW)more »of TPCs, using two approaches: 1) MWCNT-filled polypropylene (PP) nanocomposites prepared via solvent dispersion, and 2) high conductivity MWCNT buckypaper embedded between PP films by hot pressing. Nanocomposite formulations containing 5 wt% and 10 wt% MWCNTs were synthesized using solvent dispersion method, followed by compression molding to manufacture films. The effect of MWCNT concentration on electrical and dynamic mechanical behavior of multifunctional films was examined with a Sourcemeter and Dynamic Mechanical Analyzer, and a comparison was made between 5 - 20 wt% MWCNT/PP films based on previous research. Glass fiber/polypropylene (GF/PP) composite joints were ultrasonically welded in a single lap shear configuration using buckypaper and MWCNT/PP films. Furthermore, electrical resistance measurements were carried out for joints under bending loads. It was observed that 15 wt% and 20 wt% MWCNT/PP films had higher stability and sensitivity for resistance response than embedded buckypaper and films with low MWCNT contents, demonstrating their suitability for USW and potential for SHM.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 4, 2022