Production Engineering

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 183–193 | Cite as

Analysis and specification of the crash behaviour of plastics/metal-hybrid composites by experimental and numerical methods

  • Christian Hopmann
  • Jan Klein
  • Benjamin Ingo Schönfuß
  • Uwe Reisgen
  • Johannes Schönberger
  • Alexander Schiebahn
Computer Aided Engineering


Plastics materials are nowadays used in many structural applications for the substitution of metals with respect to weight reduction. In order to utilize the high freedom of design and the light-weight potential of plastics materials in crash-relevant structural parts, so-called hybrid composites which combine the high rigidity and strength of steel with the advantages of plastics materials are investigated in the outlined research. Thereby, the joining of both materials as well as the design by means of numerical methods such as the finite element analysis (FEA) are challenges which have to be met. A new approach in joining is based on the modified arc welding process where metal pin structures are formed in one working step and subsequently welded onto the surface. The pins are formed with ball-shaped, cylindrical or spiky ends and produced directly from the welding wire without requiring additional pre-fabricated components such as studs or similar. This allows the small-scale surface structuring of metal components that can be adapted optimally for a form fit on the respective plastics structure. Subsequently, injection molding is used for the application of the plastics material onto the pin-structured metal part in order to generate a positive fit between metal and plastics in an intrinsic joining process. An additional joining process, which is carried out after injection molding, is not required. Within the framework of the research presented, comprehensive mechanical tests are presented to illustrate the suitability of pin-structured metal-hybrid composites in crash applications. In comparison to structures which are in particular exposed to static loads and therefore designed to exhibit maximum component strength, crash applications are designed to fail in a continuous process to achieve maximum energy consumption. The outlined research illustrates the enhanced failure behavior of pin-structured plastics/metal-hybrid composites and the increased energy consumption under impact loading. Moreover, a comparison between pin structuring and laser structuring with regard to the obtainable mechanical properties under impact loading is given. Concluding, the current potential and weak points in the simulation of plastics/metal-hybrid structures using FEA is presented and discussed.


Hybrid structures Dynamic properties Structuring processes Impulsive load FEA 


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Copyright information

© German Academic Society for Production Engineering (WGP) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV)RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Welding and Joining Institute (ISF)RWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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