This Feasibility Study will addresses two priority areas within the Future Composites Manufacturing Research Hub.
1) ‘Recycling and re-use’; it will be a step towards a new manufacturing technology to overcome barriers preventing the uptake of recycled rCF in high performance composites. This new conversion process will take currently available short fibre recyclates to produce readily usable highly aligned fibre intermediate material formats.
2) ‘High-rate deposition and rapid processing technologies’, the rCF intermediate materials will be suitable for use in subsequent automated manufacturing processes and will be a first example of using rCF in powder prepregging and automated dry fibre tape placement.
The following benefits will be achieved through the study’s goals:
- Understand the feasibility of using newly devised aqueous-resin doped binding methods for stabilising short-fibre dry mats to produce robust intermediate materials.
- Assess the properties of the produced intermediate material to understand which subsequent automated manufacturing processes they would be suitable for, i.e., adequate strength, handling robustness, and tack, suitable for automated pick-and-place, preforming, Automated Dry Fibre Placement (ADFP), prepreg Automated Fibre Placement (AFP) etc.
- Understand the feasibility of measuring tack of ADFP tapes using the newly developed ASTM D8336–21 (Standard Test Method for Characterizing Tack of Prepregs Using a Continuous Application-and-Peel Procedure) and employ tack as a means of tailoring binding methods .
- Scope equipment options for scale-up and continuous manufacturing process; engage with equipment manufacturers for trials to be carried out within their R&D facilities using materials supplied/specified by the feasibility study. Therefore, priming for a follow-on project at TRL3-4.
- Demonstration cases (conducted as part of associated Hub Fellowship activities):
- Explore the feasibility of using the produced ‘dry’ intermediary materials in ADFP process by demonstration on equipment developed in the ‘Technologies framework for Automated Dry Fibre Placement’ core project.
- Process ‘powder-prepregged’ intermediary materials into panels to assess material quality.