Title: THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE AUTOMATED FIBER PLACEMENT FOR HIGH-RATE AIRCRAFT MANUFACTURING
Authors: Joseph P. Heil, Ronald E Jones, Andi C Meyer, Joseph Garber
Abstract: High-Rate Thermoplastic Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) followed by secondary consolidation is proposed as a manufacturing strategy to enable production rates of 80 airplanes per month for a conceptual thermoplastic composite single aisle fuselage. The AFP process development and de-risking activities conducted in support of the NASA HiCAM project are described.
A newly designed AFP head with 16 lanes of laser assisted heating was used to support this work. Eight 24-ply flat panels were fabricated using Solvay PEKK-FC slit tape. These panels then underwent a secondary consolidation, inspection, and mechanical testing. Multiple process variables were assessed including: lay down rate, nip point temperature, and method of secondary consolidation. Flexure and Combined Loading Compression mechanical tests showed panels made by high-rate AFP followed by vacuum-bag-only (VBO) consolidation showed strength and stiffness performance is 90-100 % of panels consolidated with the autoclave. The AFP process variables in this study had negligible effect on mechanical performance due to the secondary consolidation process. Future work will utilize the fastest AFP rates possible and explore size and complexity limitations for secondary consolidation.
References: 1. Wadsworth, Mark Anthony, inventor; Spirit AeroSystems, assignee. Method of Fusing Thermoplastic Composite Structures. United States Patent US 10,828,880. 2020 Nov 2. ASTM Standard D7264/D7264M-21, 2021, "Standard Test Method for Flexure Properties of Polymer Matrix Composites" ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2021, DOI: 10.1520/D7264_D7264M-21, www.astm.org. 3. ASTM Standard D6641/D6641M-16, 2016, "Standard Test Method for Compressive Properties of Polymer Matrix Composite Materials Using Combined Loading Compression (CLC) Test Fixture" ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2016, DOI: 10.1520/D6641_D6641M-16E02, www.astm.org.
Conference: SAMPE 2023
Publication Date: 2023/04/17
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