To prove the technical superiority and economic competitiveness of integral high-performance, light-weight sandwich panels, based on 3D-weavings. This will be done by the design, manufacturing and testing of real parts for aeronautical, marine and ground transportation applications.
Processes that have been subject of research include the weaving process itself, prepregging, limited RTM & pulltrusion experiments, hand lay-up and a new (patented) vacuum press technology developed in the project. Also the foaming process has been a unforeseen subject of research. Applications that have been investigated include fireproof panels, bulletproof ammunition chamber, helicopter subframe, minesweeper hull and superstructures, bus floors and automotive parts.
The research has resulted in several technologies and extensive know-how: a patented production process for Integral Composite Sandwich Panels (ICSP), indepth knowledge of weaving of 3D-sandwich fabrics in glass and carbon, a new design for crash absorbing elements, a database of research results than can be used to find suitable panel compositions for a given application, and a finite element design tool (TOCO-AFICOSS) capable of predicting performance of sandwich configurations. Results achieved during the project that are already in a commercial stage include fireproof panels and various marine applications.
Light weight sandwich panels (with honeycomb or foam cores), are not integrally technique is very expensive, and delaminations can cause serious problems in the use of these panels. Sometimes, the panels do not have the required properties (insulation for honeycombs, shear strength for foams). Recent adaptations of these materials have shown better performance, but also an increase in price and weight, and a reduction of secondary properties.
Because of the high cost, sandwich panels are mainly used in aeronautical applications. A decrease in the cost/performance ratio could facilitate the use of sandwich panels in medium and low tech area's.
A new type of sandwich panel, the Integral Composite Sandwich Panel (ICSP), will be made out of high performance composites based on 3D-weavings. This innovation leads to a construction material which is:
-cheaper than the existing sandwich materials, due to a one step manufacturing process, which can even be automated for specific applications
-technically superior: delamination and impact resistance of this material will be much higher. This will be combined with good basic mechanical properties, and improved environmental behaviour.
19038 Sarzana (Sp)