Directed Heating System for High Speed Manufacturing of Thermoplastic Composites
Polymer matrix thermoplastic (e.g., PEEK/IM7) composites exhibit excellent toughness, fatigue strength, and strength-to-weight characteristics over their all-metal counterparts. These characteristics make them desirable for high performance military structures such as artillery components for Mounted Combat Systems, aircraft components, and hulls for underwater vehicles. Currently, Automated Tape Laying (ATL) machines accomplish in-situ matrix heating, winding, and compaction of the composite prepreg tape onto mandrels. As a result of indirect and ineffective heating, both the prepreg winding tension and the tape feed rates are limited by the current ATL machines. Creares innovation is a novel Directed Heating System (DHS) that deposits directed and localized energy into the prepreg tape using lasers that can be easily and safely integrated with the fiber placement head on any ATL machine platform. During the Phase I project, we assembled a DHS, completed pre-production tests on composite parts, and began designing the system for integration on off-the-shelf ATL machines. During Phase II, we will complete the system design, fabricate a prototype DHS, integrate it onto an ATL machine, and complete performance testing. This will be followed by technology transition and commercialization planning.
Small Business Information at Submission:
P.O. Box 71 Hanover, NH -
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