Automated Dry Fibre Placement and Infusion Process Development for Complex Geometries

  • Laura Veldenz

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisEngineering Doctorate (EngD)

Abstract

Composite manufacture in the aerospace industry increasingly requires high production rate, increased part quality and simplification of manufacture. Current processes such as Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) in conjunction with an autoclave cure only partially satisfy these requirements. In order to address industry needs, the potential of the Automated Dry Fibre Placement (ADFP) process in combination with a high temperature infusion process using an oven was investigated as an alternative future manufacturing route. Manufacturing using ADFP is a complex process chain and the laminate quality is affected by a multitude of material and process variables. The main challenge in using this novel process is the lack of detailed understanding of the influence and interaction of raw materials with the processing steps.
The aim of this research is to study the effect of various materials as well as process parameters in the ADFP process on the deposition and infusion process of complex composite parts. A knowledge-based approach avoids costly trial and error for process optimisation, as shown on a demonstrator component. A multi-criteria selection tool is proposed as a material selection methodology for novel dry fibre tape materials. Coupon level deposition trials were carried out to understand the material behaviour under different processing conditions and its impact on the quality of the preform impact of laminate design and part geometry on infusion characteristics and laminate quality was determined. The applicability of the results obtained through coupon level testing to real parts was assessed and evaluated using an industrially relevant demonstrator.
The guidelines developed within this work enabled rapid decision making in defining manufacturing process conditions to facilitate industrial implementation of a novel manufacturing process and reduce the barrier to entry. Investigating the scalability of the process with scientific methods to an industrially relevant level responds to requirements of the aerospace industry.
Date of Award7 May 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Bristol
SupervisorKevin Potter (Supervisor), Byung Chul (Eric) Kim (Supervisor) & Peter Giddings (Supervisor)

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