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Deconstructing composites processing - Why it seems so complex and how to think about it in a structured way - A255

From CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre
Perspectives - A8AIM Events - Webinars - A115Deconstructing composites processing - Why it seems so complex and how to think about it in a structured way - A255
Deconstructing composites processing - Why it seems so complex and how to think about it in a structured way
Perspectives article
A255 Video Thumbnail Image-QFKnPBh5Fsg3.png
Document Type Article
Document Identifier 255
Webinar Date
  • March 24, 2021

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Composite materials come in many different forms, shapes, and sizes. While this allows for flexibility in tailoring the design, it also results in many different possibilities for manufacturing, which can seem complicated and daunting. However, despite there being numerous choices for manufacturers, the complexities often associated with composite material processing can be deconvoluted and approached in a structured way.

In this AIM event, we lay out a structured approach to composite material manufacturing; from thinking about how material flows through a factory to breaking out process steps into their material, shape, tooling, and equipment parameters. This method of thinking is central to the framework for the Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC) – one of the core pillars of CKN.

Webinar[edit | edit source]

Webinar slides[edit | edit source]

Webinar slides available by clicking on the icon below

PDF Icon-LK6QpdpqPx9B5d.svg

Additional information for select chapters[edit | edit source]

Chapter Chapter Title Links to related information in the Knowledge in Practice Centre
1 Welcome & introductions N/A
2 Outline and learning objectives N/A
3 Why composites manufacturing seems so challenging
4 Systems approach to composites processing
5 Relationship between design and manufacturing See previous links
6 Traditional description of a process See previous links
7 Describing a manufacturing process (MSTE) See previous links
8 Primary themes of composite processing See previous links
9 MSTE interactions for Thermal Management
10 Effect of Material (M) in thermal management
11 Effect of Shape (S) in thermal management
12 Effect of Tooling (T) in thermal management
13 Effect of Equipment (E) in thermal management
14 Factory level view of interactions & process steps
15 Manufacturing decisions
16 Practice workflows See previous link
17 Case study: Troubleshooting room temp cure process
18 Case study: Identify problem steps
19 Case study: List MSTE objects for each process step See previous links
20 Case study: Thermal transformation of gel coat
21 Case study: Case study: Timing DOC of gel coat
22 Case study: Storage of part outdoors
23 Case study: Temperature variability on cure
24 Case study: Thermal transformation of bulk layer
25 Case study: Insulating a part to achieve good DOC
26 Case study: Variable part thickness on DOC
27 Case study: Summary N/A
28 Wrap-up N/A
29 Q&A N/A

About Help
CKN KPC logo


Welcome to the CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC). The KPC is a resource for learning and applying scientific knowledge to the practice of composites manufacturing. As you navigate around the KPC, refer back to the information on this right-hand pane as a resource for understanding the intricacies of composites processing and why the KPC is laid out in the way that it is. The following video explains the KPC approach:

Understanding Composites Processing

The Knowledge in Practice Centre (KPC) is centered around a structured method of thinking about composite material manufacturing. From the top down, the heirarchy consists of:

The way that the material, shape, tooling & consumables and equipment (abbreviated as MSTE) interact with each other during a process step is critical to the outcome of the manufacturing step, and ultimately critical to the quality of the finished part. The interactions between MSTE during a process step can be numerous and complex, but the Knowledge in Practice Centre aims to make you aware of these interactions, understand how one parameter affects another, and understand how to analyze the problem using a systems based approach. Using this approach, the factory can then be developed with a complete understanding and control of all interactions.

The relationship between material, shape, tooling & consumables and equipment during a process step

Interrelationship of Function, Shape, Material & Process

Design for manufacturing is critical to ensuring the producibility of a part. Trouble arises when it is considered too late or not at all in the design process. Conversely, process design (controlling the interactions between shape, material, tooling & consumables and equipment to achieve a desired outcome) must always consider the shape and material of the part. Ashby has developed and popularized the approach linking design (function) to the choice of material and shape, which influence the process selected and vice versa, as shown below:

The relationship between function, material, shape and process

Within the Knowledge in Practice Centre the same methodology is applied but the process is more fully defined by also explicitly calling out the equipment and tooling & consumables. Note that in common usage, a process which consists of many steps can be arbitrarily defined by just one step, e.g. "spray-up". Though convenient, this can be misleading.

The relationship between function, material, shape and process consisting of Equipment and Tooling and consumables


The KPC's Practice and Case Study volumes consist of three types of workflows:

  • Development - Analyzing the interactions between MSTE in the process steps to make decisions on processing parameters and understanding how the process steps and factory cells fit within the factory.
  • Troubleshooting - Guiding you to possible causes of processing issues affecting either cost, rate or quality and directing you to the most appropriate development workflow to improve the process
  • Optimization - An expansion on the development workflows where a larger number of options are considered to achieve the best mixture of cost, rate & quality for your application.