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Experimental and numerical studies on the braiding of carbon fibres over structured end-fittings for the design and manufacture of high performance hybrid shafts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-228
Number of pages14
JournalProduction Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date26 Apr 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 21 Mar 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 26 Apr 2018
DatePublished (current) - Apr 2018


Braiding is an attractive manufacturing method for tubular elements such as hollow shafts and struts. One of the main challenges however is the integration of suitably performing end-fittings. Recent advances in additive layer manufacture have enabled the fabrication of end-fittings which can be ‘co-impregnated’ or ‘co-cured’ with the fibre preform in a single step, i.e. without the need for secondary adhesive bonding. This requires the introduction of protrusions onto the surface of the end-fitting to promote mechanical interlocking with the fibres. However, the lack of accurate modelling tools for the simulation of this manufacturing process means that much empiricism is currently used in the design of such structures. A novel numerical framework is presented here for the full-scale simulation of the braiding process over structured end-fittings. Nonlinear finite element analysis is applied at the meso-scale, with strands of beam elements representing individual yarns and meshed surfaces modelling the mandrel and tooling. Penalty-based contact formulations are then used to simulate all inter-yarn and yarn-metal interactions, enabling detailed predictions of fibre paths around surface protrusions. In order to verify and validate this numerical framework, a series of full-scale braiding experiments was conducted using additively-manufactured thermoplastic mandrels. Final braid patterns as well as the occurrence of braid imperfections were investigated and compared to model predictions. It is shown that the proposed modelling strategy reproduces well the trends observed experimentally in terms of final braid quality. A parametric study was then conducted on the effects of initial end-fitting alignment with respect to oncoming yarns, suggesting that better control over this parameter could reduce considerably the occurrence of braid imperfections.

    Research areas

  • Additive layer manufacture, Braiding, Carbon fibre composites, Finite element analysis, Hybrid joints, Process modelling, Virtual testing

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