On-Line Consolidation of Thermoplastic Composites


etd.pdf (3.1 MB)
Downloads: 765

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


An on-line consolidation system, which includes a computer-controlled filament winding machine and a consolidation head assembly, has been designed and constructed to fabricate composite parts from thermoplastic towpregs. A statistical approach was used to determine the significant processing parameters and their effect on the mechanical and physical properties of composite cylinders fabricated by on-line consolidation. A central composite experimental design was used to select the processing conditions for manufacturing the composite cylinders. The thickness, density, void content, degree of crystallinity and interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) were measured for each composite cylinder. Micrographs showed that complete intimate contact and uniform fiber-matrix distribution were achieved. The degree of crystallinity of the cylinders was found to be in the range of 25-30%. Under optimum processing conditions, an ILSS of 58 MPa and a void content of <1% were achieved for APC-2 (PEEK/Carbon fiber) composite cylinders.

An in-situ measurement system which uses a slip ring assembly and a computer data acquisition system was developed to obtain temperature data during winding. Composite cylinders were manufactured with eight K-type thermocouples installed in various locations inside the cylinder. The temperature distribution inside the composite cylinder during winding was measured for different processing conditions.

ABAQUS finite element models of the different processes that occur during on-line consolidation were constructed. The first model was used to determine the convective heat transfer coefficient for the hot-air heat source. A convective heat transfer coefficient of 260 w/m2°K was obtained by matching the calculated temperature history to the in-situ measurement data. To predict temperature distribution during winding an ABAQUS winding simulation model was developed . The winding speed was modeled by incrementally moving the convective boundary conditions around the outer surface of the composite cylinder. A towpreg heating model was constructed to predict the temperature distribution on the cross section of the incoming towpreg. For the process-induced thermal stresses analysis, a thermoelastic finite element model was constructed. Using the temperature history obtained from thermal analysis as the initial conditions, the thermal stresses during winding and cooling were investigated.