Compaction processes for composite materials are widely used in the industry for the production of highly filled composites. Moulding of e.g. friction materials using heat and pressure in the traditional manner becomes increasingly inefficient. The energy used in the process is excessive. The above mentioned problems could be solved by using ultrasonic energy, leading the energy direct into the centre of the composite materials. In conventional processes the energy dissipated in heating the mould is grossly excessive as heavy press tools, supported on press platens of considerable mass, have to be maintained at temperature which can enable the composite moulding compound to flow and fill the mould. Subsequently process control is only possible within relatively large tolerances. This is a problem to maintain constant product quality. Waste, resulting of bad products produced, is a consequence. By using the new technology (compacting powderous materials by means of energy input via ultrasonics), big savings in production costs (typically for large products like e.g. heavy duty drum brake linings- could be reduced down to 50% or even more). The main reasons for the savings can be found in material savings due to exact controllable process allowing for having no rejects and also in the fact that equipment costs for manufacturing are cheaper, as it can be built in light duty version. Another big saving can be found in the fact, that by the 'moulding in-shape' process, many operations after press cure can be eliminated compared to existing technologies. All over this new technology opens a wide range of applications, if the equipment can be built for industrial usage. Typical examples are friction pads, heat shields, electrical insulations and connectors, machinery parts and magnets and bearings.
Funding SchemeEAW - Exploratory awards