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Towards Efficient Composites Manufacture Through In-Process Monitoring and Knowledge Management

Bristol student theses: Doctoral ThesisEngineering Doctorate (EngD)

Authors

  • Laura Rhian Pickard

Research units

Abstract

This thesis covers topics ranging from cure cycle optimisation to knowledge management, in-process XCT Scanning to lessons learned, dielectric monitoring to procurement of large equipment. Tying these seemingly disparate themes together is a simple aim-to contribute to an improvement in the efficiency composites manufacturing, through better understanding of both the physical and managerial aspects of such.
Tracking the volume of defects during cure of a sample with a newly developed method for in-process XCT Scanning-using industrial equipment only-contributes to our understanding of the level of accuracy required in layup. Using dielectric monitoring to optimise, follow and control the cure cycle used can result in lower energy-or faster-cure without compromising on the final product. And understanding of how knowledge transfer differs in industry and academia, and the business processes required to make use of these new technologies, can help to bring these benefits to companies, particularly the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) who often lack a specialised research and development department, but can benefit from flexibility far beyond that of a corporate behemoth.
Knowledge transfer studies, carried out with companies and academic institutions in the UK and Canada, provide an understanding of how these organisations learn. A combination of simple but illuminating opinion questions, knowledge network analysis and a new tweak on the classic skills matrix-with a check that helps to balance out individual bias; these studies themselves have proved useful to many of the participating organisations.
With this in mind, a combination of original, practical research and reference to that which has been done before was used to produce a demonstration of knowledge transfer aimed at SMEs, taking that which had previously been almost exclusively in the academic realm and aiming squarely at the industrial sector. This tool, showing the potential benefits (and issues) of using dielectric and DC cure monitoring in industrial processes was supplied to volunteer companies for their feedback. Combined with the real, practical demonstration of using this technology with industrial equipment to achieve more efficient cure of a composite part of varying thickness, a step forward has been made on the journey from laboratory to factory.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Ivana Partridge (Supervisor)
  • Kevin Potter (Supervisor)
  • Dan Kells (External person) (Supervisor)
  • Paul Shakspeare (External person) (Supervisor)
Thesis sponsors
  • National Composites Centre
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Award date25 Jun 2019

    Research areas

  • Manufacturing, Composite materials, Knowledge Management, Dielectric Analysis, Micro-XCT, In-Process monitoring, Knowledge Transfer, Defect evolution, Ply drop, Tow gap, Energy efficiency, Active process control, Carbon fibre, Cure cycle, Void evolution, Knowledge network

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