Layer by layer curing

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Layer by layer curing

Host Institution: Cranfield University

Lead Investigator: Alex Skordos

Co-Investigator: James Kratz, Jonathan Belnoue, Konstantinos Tifkitsis, Lawrence Cook, Ric (Xiaochuan) Sun

Aims

The project aim is to establish the capability of producing composites by processing in a single layer by layer (LbL) step. The main objectives are:


  • Simulation of the layer by layer process – including consolidation, thermal and curing effects.

  • Evaluation of interlaminar properties at interfaces produced using partially cured sub-laminates.

  • Process optimisation to identify conditions combining high speed and sufficient layer adhesion.

  • Implementation and demonstration of the whole layer variant of the process.

  • Assessment of product quality to validate the development.

Progress

The main activities to date are as follows:

  • Adaptation of 1D consolidation and 1D heat transfer models.
  • Development of model coupling strategy.
  • Consolidation characterisation.
  • Thermo-analytical characterisation.
  • Selection of cure cycles for partially cure delamination specimens.
  • Manufacturing of specimens with partially cured interfaces.
  • Work has focused on simulation developments/ adaptations allowing coupling of heat transfer cure modelling with consolidation in 1D. The selected material (913 glass prepreg) has been characterised and manufacturing process conditions for partially cured interfaces have bene established and applied.
Figures 1 & 2: Simulations of the thermal and interlaminar consolidation curing effects in the layer by layer process

Figures 1 & 2: Simulations of the thermal and interlaminar consolidation curing effects in the layer by layer process

Key Achievements

  • Mathematical models of the layer by layer process have been developed. These take into account the complex physics of consolidating the preimpregnated material and curing it, and translate it into the particular arrangement of the layer by layer process.
  • The necessary characterisation to inform the models has also been carried out; this comprises measurements of the pre-impregnated material deformation under consolidation conditions, of the kinetics of the curing reaction and of the thermal properties of the material.

Evidence of Impact

Project partnerships to date

Heraeus Noblelight, Coriolis Composites, National Composites Centre (NCC).

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