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Consolidation of Braided Carbon Fiber/ Thermoplastic Composite Tubes by Induction Welding


Title: Consolidation of Braided Carbon Fiber/ Thermoplastic Composite Tubes by Induction Welding

Authors: Andrew Cromer, Joshua Widawsky, Jaspreet Pandher, Sandi G. Miller, J. Michael Pereira, Brandon Strohminger, Wout De Backer

DOI: 10.33599/nasampe/c.23.0097

Abstract: Thermoplastic composites (TPCs) have experienced renewed enthusiasm within the U.S. aerospace industry, due in part to opportunities for rapidly manufacturing large structures. Unlike the lengthy cure cycles required by thermosets, the thermoplastic matrix prepreg requires only heat and pressure to consolidate consecutive layers of material; with sufficient inter-ply contact time to develop a strong interface. The manufacturing requirements for thermoplastics provide manufacturing flexibility and of particular interest are in-situ consolidation processes, i.e., consolidation during layup on a tool.

In-situ consolidation removes the time-consuming and costly secondary processing step of autoclave or press consolidation. Process variables which contribute to laminate quality include temperature, heat transfer, inter-ply contact time, and consolidation pressure; all of which must be considered when evaluating an in-situ manufacturing method. Most of the work in this area to date has focused on consolidation during automated fiber placement (AFP), where prepreg tows are consolidated when placed on the tool. Considering this process for a braided structure adds complexity relative to AFP due to the rapid lay-down rate of the braider and simultaneous placement of multiple prepreg tows. As such, processes considered for AFP consolidation could not be applied to a braided part.

Alternatively, a fully braided preform could be consolidated on the tool using well established thermoplastic welding / heating techniques. The goal of this effort was to evaluate the effectiveness of induction welding (heating) to consolidate braided carbon fiber/thermoplastic composite tubes up to eight plies in thickness. The manufacturing process, thermal characterization, and initial mechanical property data of the consolidated tubes are reported.

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Conference: CAMX 2023

Publication Date: 2023/10/30

SKU: TP23-0000000097

Pages: 16

Price: $32.00

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