Étude numérique et expérimentale du soudage par électrofusion de tubes en polyéthylène

Abstract : The Electrofusion welding process is widely used to join polyethylene components in gas distribution networks. Even trusty as a technique, the field feedback points out some divergences whose influence on the long term performance of the weld. One of the well-known consequences of these divergences is the “sticking” (aka “cold weld”) that is the result of an uncompleted or even inexistent interdiffusion of the macromolecules of the materials to join. Most numerical simulations are two-dimensional whereas the process is usually three-dimensional both in terms of heat transfer and mechanical aspects. The main objective of the work was to develop a 3D finite element model and to validate it by comparing to a real situation the temperature evolution and the thermally affected areas in a simple planar welding geometry with the same dimensional characteristics as a real fitting chosen to make easier the instrumentation. The numerical model takes into account the fitting parameters such as polyethylene thermal and mechanical properties (i.e. melting and crystallization kinetics, phase transition, thermal expansion) and the electrical and geometrical settings. It computes a criterion based on the macromolecular interdiffusion theory able to determine whether a good welding occurred or not at the end of the welding cycle. The computed results (temperature, melted and cold areas and fracture surfaces) were compared with experimental data and gave very good agreement in terms of temperature, liquid phase fraction distribution and fracture surfaces. Finally the numerical model and the experimental process were used to study the influence of welding conditions on the weld itself and to study the welding of complex geometries such as the industrial fittings.
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Ziad Chebbo. Étude numérique et expérimentale du soudage par électrofusion de tubes en polyéthylène. Matériaux et structures en mécanique [physics.class-ph]. Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, 2013. Français. ⟨NNT : 2013ENMP0092⟩. ⟨tel-01083850⟩

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