Today, advanced composites use either layers of plies impregnated with resin (pre-pregs) to form a laminate, or Liquid Composites Moulding (e.g. RTM) of dry textiles. Prepreg composites give superior mechanical properties due to toughened resins and high fibre content, but suffer from high material costs, limited shapeability, complex, expensive and time consuming manufacturing, and limited materials shelf life. Infusion technologies can overcome these limitations, but are not fully industrialised and rely on costly prototype testing due to the lack of simulation tools. Current infusion simulation technologies are approximate and really only suited to small scale components based on adaptations of Resin Transfer Moulding simulation; they are not accurate for large, thick and complex aerospace composites, where one sided tooling and vacuum membranes cause complex 3D heat/flow processes. The INFUCOMP project will develop the full simulation chain from preform design to manufacture (infusion), process/part optimisation and final part defects/mechanical performance prediction with a focus on the infusion step. The project covers all popular Liquid Resin Infusion (LRI) methods currently used in the Aerospace industry. Although focus is on aerospace applications, the work will be very relevant to other industries. The proposed technologies will allow economical manufacture of high performance, integrated, large scale composite structures; thus, positively contributing to their increased use. Benefits include lower cost, improved performance, greater payloads and fuel/emissions reductions. A team of two aircraft manufacturers, two tier one suppliers, a material manufacturer, university and industry researchers, and commercial software specialists; all with a recognised track record in this field have been selected from eight different CEC countries; one partner is an SME.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project
01121 Dagneux Montluel
BT3 9DZ Belfast