Cleaning CFRP surfaces with lasers

Adhesive bonding offers several advantages over mechanical fasteners for joining carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs). Specifically, the use of adhesives avoids damaging fibres with through-holes, does not concentrate stress around joiners, and is a lighter weight alternative.

However, achieving a high strength adhesive bond can be frustrated by the presence of surface contaminants, such as mould release agents. 

Various techniques have been explored to create the ideal surface prior to bonding. These include the use of peel-plies, as well as various mechanical preparation techniques, such as grinding or grit blasting.

Unfortunately, each of these processes has their own drawbacks in terms of either speed, complexity or the need for subsequent cleaning.

Excimer laser-based surface cleaning and ablation now offers a practical alternative which yields a surface with the requisite characteristics for adhesive bonding.

This is an excerpt from the article The use of excimer lasers for cleaning CFRPs prior to adhesive bondingRead Part 1 of this feature article here.