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Process Simulation and Tool Compensation Methodology for High Temperature Composite Processes

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ProTHiC (Process Simulation and Tool Compensation Methodology for High Temperature Composite Processes)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-10-31

The aim of the Clean Sky initiative is to provide radically greener air transport based on novel concepts for engines and aircraft design to meet the environmental goals for aviation in 2020, as set out by ACARE.
The area of high temperature composites is an area with huge potential for the European aeronautics industry, nonetheless, the engagement is rather limited at the moment. The replacement of metallic parts and components with CFRPs in applications with temperature requirements in excess of 200°C (currently not possible) can facilitate additional weight savings and thus further emission reductions. The advancement of processing such materials from TRL3 to TRL5 and verifying the technology on a complex shaped sub-component is suggested within the ProTHiC project.Currently tools for manufacturing composite components require a lot try-out time to fully compensate for the effects of cure induced distortion and thermal shrinkage during cooling. Handling cure induced distortion in epoxy based composite parts is still a major problem and even more challenging for composite in high temperature applications which leads to substational cost due to the excessive need for process tuning and part quality issues. The risks related to production time and cost involved with such distortions is one major barrier for manufacturers using high temperature composite parts. A reliable method for accurately predicting and controlling cure induced distortion will result in two main improvements. The first is reduction in tool development cost and risk through reduction of scrapped material, rework of tools and total tool development time. The tooling cost and risk for manufacturing high temperature composites are on the level where other material solutions are chosen instead. This addresses the ‘Flightpath 2050’ goal that “the whole European aviation industry is strongly competitive and has a share of more than 40% of its global market.” The second main improvement is reduction in design and development time through increased use of simulation and reduced need for prototype manufacture and iterative process adjustment. Nowadays the process simulation is mostly used in the late design process. Changes, which have to be made here, result in reworking and high additional costs. With the newly developed concurrent design process, the manufacturing simulation will be included in the early design phase, starting with preliminary feasibility studies. There will be a strong connection with continuous data transfer between design and process simulation, which are working in parallel. This approach will reduce development time and allows for early adjustments in the design to save costs of expensive subsequent work. This addresses the goals set forth in ‘Flightpath 2050’ regarding “streamlined systems engineering, design, manufacturing, certification and significantly reduced development costs”.
ProTHiC has objective to:
-develop, characterise and establish calibrated materials and models for high temperature resins tailored for processing with RTM,
-verify and develop a foundation for best practice in terms of tool design concept used for high temperature RTM-processing,
-show that physically sound composite processing simulation (cure and mould filling) methodologies can be used to predict properties of high temperature composites and components,
-include means to take tool-part interaction in to account in such processing simulations,
-define and verify a simulation assisted tool design process where CAD-data is efficiently transferred to the simulation software’s and tool surface compensation can be performed based on simulation outcome,
Prepare demonstrator component (including tools) to verify the materials and simulation methodologies.
WP1 Project Management
Task 1.1 Project coordination
Status: Finalized
Task 1.2 Organisation of progress review meeting
Status: Finalized,Weekly video meetings were held to review of the activities in the Project. Planned physical meetings are changed to virtual meeting during 2020 and 2021 due to the situation regarding Covid-19.
Task 1.3 Dissemination
Three papers have been published and results about the simulation methodology and models have been presented at three different conferences
WP2 Technical coordination and development of concurrent design process
Task 2.1 Definition of sub-component geometry and establishment of requirements specification
A highly complex demontrator have been selected by GKN
Status: Finalized activity, delivery D2:2
Task 2.2 Selection of constituents materials and formats
Two resin types have been selected to be used in the demonstrator
Status: Task is finalized and reported in D2.2
Task 2.3. Preparation and purchase of raw materials
Status: Finalized
Task 2.4 First definition of concurrent design process
A method to simulate the complete chain of process simulations have been developed
Status: Finalized
WP3 Development of process simulation models and strategies
Task 3.1 Tool design feasibility analysis
Status: Finalized
Task 3.2. Material characterization
Status: Finalized
Task 3.4 Development of finite element based simulations of curing and residual stresses in high temperature systems
Status: Finalized
Task 3.5 Iterative procedures for mold tool compensation
Tool compensation have been conducted to the demonstrator geometry and feedback to the simulations for corrective actions.
Status: Finalized
Task 3.6 Assessment and recommendation for concurrent design process
Status: Finalized
WP4 Development and verification of critical tool features on specimen level
Task 4.1 Inventory, development and selection of possible tool concepts for robust and reliable RTM manufacturing
Status: Finalized
Task 4.2 Verification of critical tool features and validation of simulation models
Report on simulation methods validated on component level (M24)
Status: Finalized
WP5 Design, manufacturing and validation of net shape high temperature sub-component RTM tool
Task 5.1. Preliminary design of sub-component tool concept
A highly complex demonstrator tooling have been manufactured
Status: Finalized
Task 5.3 Definition and preparation of sub-component preform
Status: Finalized
Task 5.4 Manufacturing of sub-component
Status: Finalized
Task 5.5 Sub-component quality control
Status: Finalized
Three papers have been published and results about the simulation methodology and models have been presented at three different conferences. The aim of dissemination the scientific results are fulfilled. The Corona pandemic have limited the possibility to participate in conferences during the project time. A highly complex demonstrator have been simulated and manufactured in one simulation tool, the result have been verified and the tool have been compensated according to the results of the simulation. The whole chain of material parameters stated in the project description have been implemented. As a result of the project, other projects will follow and the knowledge will be used in new application, both nationally and European.
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