"Thermoplastics (TP) are high molecular weight polymers which, unlike thermosetting (TS) resins, do not form a rigid three-dimensional cross-linked chemical structure after processing. This allows the TP to be readily re-melted and re-formed, not the TS. Additional advantages are: chemical/impact resistance, range of temperatures, low level of moisture uptake then low hot/wet conditions degradation, eco-friendly/reusable properties that can make them a primary selection when the part live cycle is considered.
In situ consolidation automated processes with TP (ISC/TP) are currently at a level of development that does not allow efficient series production of complex TP components. More research is still needed to manufacture double curvature panels including strong thickness changes, plies drop-off, etc. Disadvantages for a good industrialization are: difficult process management, high process temperatures and pressures, material handling for an efficient ISC/TP process.
The four main drivers of the ISINTHER project are:
-To assess an in situ consolidation process for TPM orientated to industrial outcome
-To apply the above main guidelines for trials and demonstrators manufacturing
- To investigate on repair solutions and process to restore nominal quality of parts
- To assess the potential benefit impact of the ISC/TP process in terms of environment, costs and elongated life cycle.
The project work plan shall be supported on a strong collaboration of a Technology Center (FIDAMC) with an experimented Automation Manufacturer (MTorres) able to transfer their experience to ISC/TP process.
PEEK APC2-AS4 will be the material reference but open to evolution or new materials. Reparability is other aspect to be investigated with a high budget and mechanical tests.
Finally, process eco-assessment is a key objective of the ECODESIGN ITD, widened here to the concept of process sustainability (environment plus cost efficiency) to see if ISC/TP could be the preferred selection."
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