A laser fusion joining method is investigated for the purpose of through thickness strengthening of glass fiber reinforced laminate composites. Laser fusion joining is evaluated as a potential process to replace mechanical reinforcements used in conventional laminate composite fabrication. A two step laser process is developed to form fusion bonds between fibers within a single bundle and between adjacent fiber bundles. Coupled heat transfer and viscous flow modeling is carried out to investigate the temperature and dynamics of the joining process under three experimentally observed conditions. Linear elastic finite element analysis is used to investigate the effect of joint morphology on stress concentrations and strength. Joint strength is found to be a function of the fiber contact angle and packing density at the joint interface. Tensile tests show that laser joined fiber bundle strength is on the same order of magnitude as the raw fiber bundles. The challenges to laser processing of three dimensional fiber reinforcements in laminate composite fabrication are discussed.

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