Is There a Size Limit to Aluminum Mold Used for 180°C Cure of CFRP Unidirectional Laminates?
The SQRTM process is an alternative to autoclave to produce high quality laminate out of aeronautic materials qualified for autoclave cure. Aluminum mold is a lower investment cost and a higher performance solution for composites cure. But to combine aluminum mold and SQRTM in serial production of large parts two main challenges are encountered: tool durability and mismatch of coefficient of thermal expansion between carbon fiber and aluminum. Tool durability issues are now rather well mastered and solutions are used in serial production. The CTE mismatch is a problem only when the part is made out of unidirectional tape. Laminate quality in ramps of pad-ups and drop-off is the main issue. This problem was solved by Coexpair engineers on parts up to 6 meter long but the the question of maximum part size is open. To answer the question they defined a test tool of 8 meter long for a flat part featuring pad-ups and drop-offs. A first part was produced and some results are presented herein.
Authors: André Bertin, Charles Langlais & Bertrand Vaneghem
Conference: SAMPE Europe Conference 2016