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"Increase of productivity, safety, greenness and cleanliness in the machining of carbon fiber reinforced composites" (ASPIRATE)
Start date: Jun 1, 2009, End date: May 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Aerospace has been pioneer in the industrial manufacturing of fibre reinforced composites for high performance components. Composite materials are used extensively as their higher specific properties (properties per unit weight) of strength and stiffness, when compared to metals, offer interesting opportunities for new product design.Still nowadays it is a growing market due to the technical improvements in the properties of the fibres, allowing the substitution of other materials like aluminium. It is remarkable the case of Boeing’s new 787 jet, where 35 tons (50% of total weight) of fibre reinforced composites are being used for each jet. By comparison, the 777 aircraft, currently Boeing’s most advanced passenger jet, only has 12% composites. Aerospace sector expects that the high use of composites will reduce maintenance time and expense and cut fuel burn per passenger by 20%.However, being nonhomogeneous, anisotropic and reinforced by very abrasive components, these materials are difficult to machine. Significant damage to the workpiece may be introduced and high wear rates of the cutting tools are experienced.One added problem related with the machining of composite materials is the operator safety, as instead of chips, the machining of composite produces small particles and dust in the range of 0,5 micrometres to 20 micrometres. These residues are harmful for human beings if aspirated because of their carcinogenic potential. Therefore, these residues must be controlled to avoid the hazards they can provoke.The main objective of ASPIRATE is to develop a new machining technology for carbon and glass fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP and GFRP) parts based on the internal extraction of the produced chip and dust particles through the whole machining system (cutting tool, tool holder, spindle). This innovative machining system will allow the safe, dry and clean machining of CFRP and GFRP, opening a growing and profitable market to the SMEs involved in the project."

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