The development of lightweight hybrid metal-polymer structures has recently been the focus of the transportation industries. Nevertheless, the possibility of joining metals and polymers or composites is still a great challenge. Friction Spot Joining (FSpJ) is a prize-winning friction-based joining technique for metal-polymer hybrid structures. The technology is environment-friendly and comprises of very short joining cycles (2 to 8 s). In the current work, aluminum alloy 2024-T3 and carbon fiber reinforced poly(phenylene sulfide) friction spot joints were produced for the first time by position control method. Joints were investigated in terms of microstructure, mechanical performance under quasi-static loading and failure mechanisms. The process temperature evolution was monitored revealing peak temperatures between 275°C to 375°C. The bonding mechanisms of the joints were identified as macro- and micro-mechanical interlocking as well as adhesion forces between consolidated polymer and metal. Ultimate lap shear forces up to 5100 ± 235 N were achieved for the range of joining parameters evaluated in this study. A qualitative comparison with position-control FSpJ and other currently available joining technologies for hybrid structures demonstrated that the current joints have exhibited superior or similar strength than the past friction-spot and concurrent joints. Finally, the fracture surface analysis of the joints revealed a mixture of adhesive-cohesive mode failure, whereas cohesive failure was dominant.
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