Bonding Glass Fiber-Reinforced Thermoplastic Composites using Localized Embedded Ultrathin Heaters for On-Orbit Assembly

Yao Yao, Karel M. Ziminsky, Charles E. Bakis, Sven G. Bilén, Xin Ning

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Methods and technologies for on-orbit assembly are currently being actively researched and developed as a means to fabricate space structures larger than the constraints imposed by launch vehicles. For terrestrial applications, assembly techniques for materials such as thermoplastic composites via mechanical (bolts/rivets), thermal (fusion bonding/welding), or chemical (solvent/adhesive) methods are well established. This research explores the application of fusion bonding techniques for use in the space environment. To achieve the required heating in the absence of external sources, ultrathin resistance heaters are embedded in glass fiber thermoplastic composite pieces. A parametric investigation of the geometric design of these heaters via numerical simulation has been done to eventually reach an optimal design to minimize temperature variations throughout a single lap shear joint while minimizing surface area of the heater. The two adherends will be clamped together during heating. Localized heat from the heaters will melt the plastic at the joint and the adherends will be bonded together as the thermoplastic resolidifies. The bonded assembly will then be tested in tension to measure the shear strength of the bond.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624107115
StatePublished - 2024
EventAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Jan 8 2024Jan 12 2024

Publication series

NameAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024


ConferenceAIAA SciTech Forum and Exposition, 2024
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering

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