Title: MANUFACTURING TRIALS OF INTEGRALLY STIFFENED COMPOSITE PANELS USING AUTOMATED FIBER PLACEMENT
Authors: Alana M. Cardona, Dawn C. Jegley, Andrew E. Lovejoy
Abstract: Commercial aircraft structures are frequently manufactured from carbon-epoxy materials because of their weight and stiffness advantages compared to metallic materials. Wing cover panels are regularly manufactured using an automated fiber placement (AFP) process, but current design and manufacturing methodologies do not fully take advantage of the opportunities afforded by AFP. Design and manufacturing studies were undertaken at the NASA Langley Research Center at the Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites (ISAAC) facility to quantify manufacturing benefits and limitations associated with AFP to create structurally efficient integral stiffeners as an alternative to bonded or mechanically fastened stiffeners. This methodology could save weight and remove failure mechanisms by reducing the need for rivets and bonding materials since the stiffener plies are interleaved within the skin plies. The use of AFP with integral stiffeners can open the design space, but a fundamental, systematic evaluation of manufacturing limitations is necessary. Manufacturing trials are described herein, where considered manufacturing variables included stiffener location, stiffener course staggering, stiffener widths, stiffener intersections, and material thicknesses for both the skin and stiffener plies. The manufacturing process and lessons learned from each trial are described, including the most successful current design which contains staggered stiffeners, non-traditional laminate angles, and a combination of multiple material thicknesses within the same laminate.
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Conference: SAMPE 2023
Publication Date: 2023/04/17
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