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Reference - An integrated model of the development of process-induced deformation in autoclave processing of composite structures

From CKN Knowledge in Practice Centre
Type Thesis
Title An integrated model of the development of process-induced deformation in autoclave processing of composite structures
Abstract Manufacture of large composite structures presents a number of challenges, one of the most critical of which is prediction and control of process-induced deformation. Traditional empirical techniques for tooling and process cycle development are particularly unsuitable for large parts, especially when development costs and process variability are key issues. Thus, there is a critical need to supplement current techniques with a science-based manufacturing approach. In the present work, a two-dimensional finite element model for prediction of process-induced deformation has been developed. Integration of this model with analyses for heat transfer and resin cure and resin flow allows analysis of all major identified deformation sources. A 'virtual autoclave' concept is employed in which autoclave control algorithms and autoclave response are simulated to predict structure boundary conditions during processing. Characterization of a carbon fibre/epoxy composite is performed and models developed to describe material behaviour during processing. An examination of autoclave heat transfer is also performed and a model developed for the observed effect of pressure on heat transfer rates. Using these data as inputs, the process model is demonstrated through application to three case studies of varying complexity. In each, model predictions are compared to experimental results and the predicted sensitivity of processing outcomes to process parameter variation is examined. A good match between model predictions and experimental results was obtained in most cases. The developed model is expected to perform two complementary roles. First, the ability to analyse structures of practical size and complexity makes the model a potentially useful process-development tool for the industrial composites processor. Also, the integration of analyses for all major deformation sources allows examination of parameter interaction, potentially driving fundamental research into deformation mechanisms and the development of improved material behavioural models.
  • Johnston, Andrew
City Vancouver
Department Materials Engineering
Date 1997
University The University of British Columbia, Vancouver
Publication UBC Open Collections
DOI 10.14288/1.0088805
Country Canada
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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.