"One of the major challenges of the aeronautical industry is the reduction of manufacturing cost, while maintaining high standards of safety and supporting the “greening” of the air transport section. During the last decade the industry has turned to advanced composite materials to achieve its goals. While in the 1970's and 1980's, composites were adopted for aerospace structures for increased performance and weight savings, the 1990's and 2000's witnessed the attention towards cost-effective fabrication. Today the industry is looking into alternatives to autoclave processing in order to cut down cost and reduce the environmental footprint. The term Out-of-Autoclave manufacturing was introduced to describe this industrial need.
The IRIDA project aims to provide an answer to this need by developing on a technology that is proven and reliable yet innovative. The IRIDA concept is based on the FIBRETEMP technology for heated CFRP moulds for LCM/LRI techniques. According to this technology the mould is heated through its carbon fibre reinforcements that act as heating elements. The results are reduced energy consumption as the thermal mass of these tools is very low, even temperature distribution and decreased process cycles.
IRIDA will set out to develop a complete manufacturing technique able to produce aerospace quality composites with properties comparable to that of autoclave cured parts. The workplan foreseen intents to investigate all aspects of composite processing and achieve reliability, accuracy and repeatability of the process. State-of-the-art monitoring and control systems will be employed in order to accomplish these goals. The ultimate objective of the project will be to construct a mould for the fabrication of a real aircraft part (engine nacelle) and produce a demonstrator part. In a sentence, IRIDA will develop, apply and verify a viable Out-of-Autoclave manufacturing solution and pave the way for its industrialisation."
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