Lab-based in-situ micro-CT observation of gaps in prepreg laminates during consolidation and cure

James Kratz*, Pedro Galvez-Hernandez, Laura Rhian Pickard, Jonathan Belnoue, Kevin Potter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

An experimental technique was developed to obtain 3D microstructural information on two typical lay-up features that often appear in automated fibre placement (AFP) or automated tape laying (ATL). Parallel-ply gaps between adjacent courses and ply-drop gaps needed to change the thickness of composite laminates were studied. Using a lab-based CT scanner, the different squeezing and bleeding mechanisms were observed while the manufacturing process was occurring. The initially large gaps were closed by fibre and/or resin flow, with the parallel-ply gap consolidating faster and reaching a lower porosity level than the ply-drop gap. However, after reaching a minimum porosity, previously consolidated voids reappeared and remained locked into the final microstructure. The in-situ CT data was helpful to identify opportunities for future process model developments. Overall, lab-based in-situ micro-CT was proven to be an effective and accessible technique to study how composite features evolve through the manufacturing process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106180
Number of pages13
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Volume140
Early online date28 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • E. Prepreg processing
  • D. CT analysis
  • C. Process simulation
  • E. Automated fibre placement (AFP)

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