Purdue University Graduate School
Thesis Joel Thompson MSE.pdf (3.37 MB)


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posted on 2020-12-16, 19:01 authored by Joel Timothy ThompsonJoel Timothy Thompson
This project investigated the manufacturing of large diameter welded PTFE rings.This welding process is time consuming and can take over ten hours for one complete weld cycle. Additionally, the welds can have poor quality in the center of the material due to insufficient heating across the weld face. The goal of this research was to address these two issues by analyzing the current process to determine the root cause of weld failures while also determining the feasibility of reducing the weld cycle time. The scope of this thesis was to develop a model to better understand and simulate the current process which could then be used for design future improvements.

A MATLAB model of the current process was developed to simulate the transient heating cycle of the most common weld cycle for PTFE currently used by a manufacturer of PTFE seals. The data for the material properties was gathered from the manufacturer test data as well as from Lau et al. (1984). Temperature dependent material properties were used in the program because the PTFE is heated above its melting point during the weld cycle. Because of the complexity of this heat transfer problem, the heat flux in the model was tuned so that it accurately reflected the current process. This is because the goal of this study was not to determine the exact heat fluxas it was unknown, but to develop an accurate model. Thus, the heat flux was assumed and the model was then verified with process data. Results from the model were compared to validation results from a FLIR thermal camera. The model predicted the compared temperatures to within 3.1% error at both 15-minute and 90-minute intervals. Though there are many potential sources of error in the process and the thermal camera measurement, the model was deemed acceptable as a model of the current process. A semi-infinite heat analysis was calculated to simulate a hot plate welding method on the PTFE. This showed that the temperature of the weld face could be raised by 57.275°C. It is believed that a method similar to hot plate welding applied to PTFE could heat the material faster and more evenly than the current process, reducing the weld failures and cycle time.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


  • Mechanical Engineering

Campus location

  • Fort Wayne

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Zhuming Bi

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Dr. Donald Mueller

Additional Committee Member 2

Nashwan Younis