Welding & Joining

This area will conduct research in process development, modeling and control of various welding and joining processes to enable the integration of lightweight and dissimilar materials for automotive applications. These processes may include ultrasonic welding, resistance spot welding, laser welding, gas-metal arc welding, mechanical joining, adhesive bonding, and hybrid joining processes (laser-arc, rivet-bonding, etc.). Special attention is now placed on the joining of dissimilar materials for battery pack manufacturing.

Current Project 1: Robust Joining Technologies for Lithium-ion Battery Manufacturing

Dr. Tae Kim and Ph.D. student Shawn Lee conducting battery joining experiments.

  • Battery environment are exposed by continuous vibration, severe weather, crash, and corrosion.
  • Battery component materials include Al, Cu, and Ni.
  • Al, Cu, and Ni have good electrical & thermal property but difficult to weld materials.
  • Dissimilar and multiple thin layers make welding process difficult.
  • There are many electrical connections to deliver electricity for HEV/PHEV/EV.
  • Therefore, robust, reliable and cost effective joining technologies are needed for battery manufacturing.


  • Develop robust joining technologies and processes for battery manufacturing


  • Report on benchmarking and state-of-the art
  • Weldability database and Weld Analyzer
  • Weld design and optimization (DFM) models
  • High speed, in-line monitoring and control systems
  • Alternative joining methods (e.g. conductive adhesive and nano-bonding)

Technical Personnel

Wayne Cai, Ph. D.
Principal Investigator
Staff Researcher

Jeffrey Abell, Ph. D.
Lab Group Manager
Manufacturing Systems Research Lab

Tae H. Kim, Ph. D.
Research Fellow

Elijah Kannatey-Asibu Jr., Ph. D.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering

S. Shawn Lee
Ph. D. Pre-Candidate

Current Project 2: Modeling of Curing Induced Distortions in Hybrid Joining of Dissimilar Materials


  • To reduce vehicle structure weight, lightweight materials (aluminum, composite, high strength steel) are used in autobody manufacturing, which poses a challenge for joining.
  • Adhesive bonding offers advantages for joining similar and dissimilar materials.
  • Severe curing induced distortion and de-bonding are observed for aluminum roof-to-steel body side assembly in Fuel Efficiency Learning Vehicle (FELV).
  • Little information is available concerning curing induced distortion.  Tool or methodology is needed for body design to minimize bonding induced distortion.

Ph.D. students Liang Zhou and Jingjing Li measuring the deformation of structures joined by adhesive.

  • Develop predictive capability to analyze dimensional variation of adhesive bonded joint and hybrid joints
  • Establish design and manufacturing guidelines for adhesive bonding of body structures

Technical Personnel

P.C. Wang, Ph. D.
Technical Fellow

Liang Zhou
Ph. D. Candidate

S. Jack Hu, Ph.D.
Mechanical Engineering

Jingjing Li
Ph. D. Candidate