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5/11/2014 Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing | Automated Dynamics - Composite Structures, Automation Equipment, and Engineering Services

http://www.automateddynamics.com/article/thermoplastic-composite-basics/developmental-processes/ultrasonic-additive-manufacturing 1/3
Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing
Automated Dynamics is currently developing an ultrasonic additive
manufacturing (UAM) capability. UAM is a process where layers of tape are
bonded together using high frequency vibrations to form a structure. What
differentiates Automated Dynamics process from traditional ultrasonic welding
methods is that the welding horn rotates to allow for continuous processing.
This UAM process has primarily been used for welding metal foils. The process
uses an ultrasonic transducer to vibrate the welding horn as it is placing the tape.
The horn also acts as a compaction roller, applying a normal (perpendicular)
force to the tape. The surface of the horn is textured, which allows it to grip the
surface of the tape and transfer the vibrational energy to the substrate. The
material is bonded together in the solid state without requiring molten
temperatures at the interface.
Figure 1: Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing welding system
[1]
Automated Dynamics is using this technology to develop a process for
ultrasonic consolidation of metal matrix composite (MMC) prepreg tapes. This
ultrasonic system has been integrated into a processing head on a research
workcell (see Figure #3 below), with the capability of being transferred to a full-
scale workcell. Initial trials have shown the feasibility for processing the MMC
tape. The MMC used here is aluminum reinforced with ceramic fibers (Al/Al2O3).
The ceramic fibers offer great strength and stiffness advantages over
unreinforced metals as illustrated in figure #2 below.

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5/11/2014 Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing | Automated Dynamics - Composite Structures, Automation Equipment, and Engineering Services
http://www.automateddynamics.com/article/thermoplastic-composite-basics/developmental-processes/ultrasonic-additive-manufacturing 2/3
Figure 2 MMC Specific Strength & Stiffness [2]
Figure 3: Ultrasonic processing head installed on a research
workcell at Automated Dynamics.
Ultrasonic welding with a stationary horn is widely used for welding plastics. It
has also been used for composite structures by tacking the pre-form together,
which is subsequently post-processed in an autoclave to consolidate the part.
However, much of the work performed by Automated Dynamics on UAM with
MMCs is directly applicable to in-situ consolidation with polymer matrix
composites (PMC). This in-situ process would not require any post-consolidation
steps, offering a significantly simpler manufacturing process.
[1] Graff, K.F., Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing, ASM Handbook, Vol.6A, Welding Fundamentals and
Processes (2011).
[2] Miracle, Daniel B., Aeronautical Applications of Metal-Matrix Composites, ARL,
http://www.ml.afrl.af.mil/mcrg/pubs/man05.pdf
5/11/2014 Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing | Automated Dynamics - Composite Structures, Automation Equipment, and Engineering Services
http://www.automateddynamics.com/article/thermoplastic-composite-basics/developmental-processes/ultrasonic-additive-manufacturing 3/3
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