Multilayered ultrasonic welding (USW) is widely used in joining of electrodes or tabs in lithium-ion batteries. To achieve quality joints and enhance the welding process robustness, an improved understanding of the joint formation is highly desirable. In this paper, USW of four-layered Ni-coated Cu is studied to investigate the joint formation at a single interface and joint propagation from interface to interface under both ambient and preheated conditions. The results indicate that joint formation involves three major mechanisms: Ni–Ni bonding with minimal mechanical interlocking, Ni–Ni bonding with moderate mechanical interlocking, and a combination of Ni–Ni bonding, Cu–Cu bonding, and severe mechanical interlocking. Results also show that joints propagate from the interface close to the sonotrode side to that close to the anvil side. It is further observed that the joint formation can be accelerated and the joint strength can be improved with process preheating, especially at the interface closest to the anvil. The effect of preheating is most significant during the early stage of the process, and diminishes as process progresses. The favorable effects of preheating improve the robustness of multilayered USW.

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