Layer by Layer Curing

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Layer by Layer Curing

Host Institutions: Cranfield University, The University of Bristol

Start Date: 1st June, 2020

Duration: 36 months

Lead Investigator: Alex Skordos

Co-Investigator: James Kratz

Aims

The aim is to develop the scientific and technological tools necessary for the implementation of the LbL concept, and to establish the new process at the scale and level of complexity required for application to advanced composite structures. This will be achieved by addressing the following objectives: 

  1. Development of fully coupled (thermal-consolidation-thermomechanical) 3D simulation of the LbL process combining appropriate modelling tools for each physics in an open source interface. 
  1. Development of constitutive models and associated characterisation campaigns addressing conventional and snap curing systems under the aggressive processing conditions of LbL curing.      
  1. Process optimisation to achieve maximisation of interfacial toughness, minimisation of process duration and control of residual stresses. 
  1. Development of tailored process setups, including an end effector and zonally heated reusable bagging, allowing implementation of the LbL process in complex geometries/components.  
  1. Optimisation of LbL process implementation within the whole process chain to minimise defect generation due to ultralow viscosity, ply drop offs, gaps and curvature. 
  1. Demonstration of applicability based on lab/pilot scale LbL  implementations of AFP/ATL, pultrusion and filament winding. 
  2. Demonstration of LbL process capabilities through the development of hybrid thermoset/thermoplastic components, stabilised preforms and laminates with tailored residual stress state.



Progress

Fig. 1: Shifting of the time-temperature overshoot trade-off surface by using the LbL process for the curing of 40 mm thick glass/epoxy prepreg

Fig. 2: 40 mm thick glass/epoxy composite produced using the LbL process

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