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Abstract

Snap-fit connections have been used for many years in various fields of technology and everyday objects. They often have complex shapes, which is allowed by the processing technology of the polymers from which they are made, but they are not designed to carry loads. Changing the material to a metal or fiber composite allows these types of joints to be used as replacements for rivets or screws, but there are problems with the closing technique – an increase in closing force due to the large Young’s modulus of these materials relative to polymers without reinforcement. One of the methods to solve this problem may be the use of a thermo-bimetallic effect consisting in heating both or one of the connection parts to the appropriate temperature. This kind of treatment results in deflection of the beam of the clip (Fig. 1), followed by assembly with zero force or less in relation to the case without heating. The paper presents the results of numerical simulations for the connection in which the beam of the clip consisted of two materials: (1) a fiber composite designed to carry loads, (2) thin metal layer tied with the composite and designed to create a thermo-bimetallic effect. In the case of this solution, the main parameter is the difference in coefficients of linear thermal expansion of both materials. The paper presents results for two cases of connection work: closing and opening. The calculations were carried out in the Abaqus/Standard solver using thermal-displacement steps.
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