Work stream 6: Design simulation tools and process improvements for NCF preforming

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Work stream 6: Design simulation tools and process improvements for NCF preforming

Host Institutions: The University of Nottingham, University of Bath, University of Cambridge

Start Date: 1st May, 2020

Duration: 36 months

Lead Investigator: Michael Sutcliffe

Co-Investigators: Andrew Rhead, Lee Harper, Richard Butler, Shuai Chen


The aim of the project is to provide process improvements and simulation design tools that will enable composite components to be designed and manufactured from textile preforms more efficiently and with greater confidence about their performance. The project will require underpinning science advances in forming simulation and material characterisation to ensure that these tools are accurate and effective. The project will focus specifically on dry non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) and double diaphragm forming (DDF), to create high-performance preforms suitable for liquid moulding. Many of the research challenges that the project will address have been highlighted in the Hub’s recent Roadmapping exercise: improved understanding of forming limits, defect formation mechanisms and significance, mixed material architectures, geometrical constraints, multi-ply forming and friction. DDF is a highly scalable process that uses vacuum-only generated forming forces, enabling huge structures to be manufactured without similar-sized presses or autoclaves.  The likelihood of defects being generated during forming increases proportionally with the complexity of the component. While the mechanics of fabric deformation in forming is relatively well understood, there is uncertainty about the mechanisms of defect formation in forming processes and a lack of experimental methods and simulation tools to characterise, understand and model these defects.  




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