VIA-Hybrid / WindowBelt: Technology Development for the Production of CFRP Components

Competence Field: Composites Structures and Processes

Motivation and Aims 

In the LuFo IV project “VIA-Hybrid”, new technologies are being developed for the production of a window frame assembly. The demonstrator component comprises a continuous fibre-reinforced structural insert that is combined with functionally integrated structures by means of an injection moulding process. By using the thermoplastic PEEK and the combination of thermoforming and injection moulding, a significant reduction of the cycle times is enabled compared with conventional RTM or autoclave processes. For the production of the window frame, a process will be developed at FIBRE for producing the continuous-fibre-reinforced structural insert. In addition to carbon fibres, the semifinished products also include embedded thermoplastic fibres produced by FIBRE. By producing hybrid semi-finished products, the process step for integrating the thermoplastic matrix is relocated to the semi-finished product manufacturer.

The semi-finished products are then used to make the structural insert preform. Preform versions made from multiaxial fabrics (MAG) and Tailored Fibre Placement (TFP) preforms are used. The great benefit of preforming with MAG, compared with the TFP solution, is the shorter cycle time. The TFP method, on the other hand, offers the advantage of precise fibre orientation and placement in the circumferential 0° orientation. 

Approach 

The subsequent consolidation of the preform takes place in a variotherm pressing tool. During the consolidation, the matrix is formed from the warp and weft threads. The even distribution of the PEEK fibres in the semi-finished product promotes uniform distribution of the matrix. After consolidation, the structural inserts can be layered or directly injection-moulded. Injection moulding of the structural inserts with short-fibre-reinforced PEEK enables integral stiffening or functional elements that would be much more complicated to integrate by continuous-fibre reinforcement. The cost-efficiency of the process thus increases decisively. 

With this procedure, it is shown that the use of high-strength thermoplastic materials enables geometrically complex primary structures for the aviation industry to be produced economically in large numbers, and in a form suitable for lightweight construction.

Project manager at FIBRE

Current

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