Low cost flexible manufacture of thermoplastic composites (2005-2007)
New lightweight structural materials are urgently required to reduce weight in transport applications. Thermoplastic composites are leading contenders to meet these needs, but the necessary technology for low cost processing and fabrication of parts from these materials is not yet freely available.
Pultrex and Integrated Materials Technology are leading a DTI-funded industry consortium responding to this need by collaborating on the development of a new technology for cost-effective processing of these materials, which will cover the full range from carbon fibre/high temperature matrix systems to glass/polypropylene.
The consortium has been working on a UD-OA converter, which takes continuous UD prepreg and converts it into either off-axis prepreg or off-axis sheet material of specified dimensions.
The University of Plymouth's role in the consortium has been to carry out preliminary studies of heat transfer during tape welding operations, using a combination of laboratory and numerical studies. This has led to the identification of processing windows for the prototype machine.
Further information can be obtained from Integrated Materials Technology.
with financial support under the DTI (now TSB) Advanced Technology Programme.
Continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic matrix prepreg
Numerical calculation of temperature distribution during tape welding