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Development of energy efficient / lightweight composite parts and tooling based on Tailored Fibre Placement technology / self heating technology (EMBROIDERY)
Start date: Jan 1, 2011, End date: Dec 31, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Composite materials are being used extensively in many industrial applications with higher production needs than the yielded by current technologies. New developments such as textile preforming combined with liquid moulding technologies will support this tendency. Nevertheless, there are still some drawbacks. More repeatable and automated processes are required and tools must be developed to assist in both design and manufacturing phases. In the case of big sized components, generally produced by infusion, productivity is limited by the long heating/cooling cycles required to cure the laminate. Another major limitation is the long time required to lay up the disposable vacuum bag and the associated ancillary material. In order to achieve higher production capabilities together with improved performance, the development of a resistive heating layer based on embeddable carbon fibre performs manufactured by Tailored Fibre Placement Technology, is proposed. This self heating layer will be able to be embedded both in rigid and elastomeric tooling in order to fulfil the heating requirements of the out of autoclave manufacturing technologies. In addition, TFP provides an outstanding capability, the fibre steering potential, which means that in the preform, the fibre orientation at each point can be oriented according to the stress field of the component, exploiting the full capabilities of the reinforcing fibre and optimising the material usage. In practice this potential is not exploited yet due to the lack of a commercial software which takes into account the fibre steering feature. Therefore, a second focus of this project will be put on developing computer algorithms which account for steering potential. The final objective is the implementation of such algorithms into a commercial software for composites analysis. The quantified main objectives are 40 % reduction in the required energy for curing composite components and 20% reduction in cycle times."
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