Chebbo Z., Boujlal A., Gueugnaut D., Vincent M., Tillier Y.
(Electrofusion, Finite Element, Heat transfer, Interdiffusion, crystallisation and melting Kinetics, Micro-sampling) Electrofusion (EF) is widely used to join polyethylene (PE) components in the gas distribution networks. This paper provides experimental and 3D-finite element tool capable of reproducing the major phenomena that occur during an electrofusion process. A specific version of the 3D-FEM simulation software Forge® is developed in order to take into account the fitting parameters, the PE material parameters (e.g. melting and crystallization enthalpy, phase transition, thermal contact resistance) and the electrical and geometrical parameters (e.g. initial gap between the parts to be welded, welding input parameters,…). From a numerical point of view, a well refined highly anisotropic mesh adaptation is applied to well capture the contact condition between the wire and the PE. A key feature of our model is the inclusion of a criterion evaluated at each node of the interface, and able to detect whether or not a good welding occurs at the end of a welding cycle. The criterion is computed based on the macromolecular inter-diffusion theory. The modeling of the electrofusion process provides from one hand the accurate description of the thermo-mechanical phenomena, and from the other hand a better understanding of the respective influences of the different factors.