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Flexible Cauls for High-Aspect Ratio Stiffeners Used in Composites Manufacturing

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Flexible Cauls for High-Aspect Ratio Stiffeners Used in Composites Manufacturing


Flexible cauls can be used to reduce per-ply thickness variation on composite parts during consolidation utilizing autoclave processing. The cauls can prevent the formation of wrinkles, bridging and low-pressure areas on the bag side, while conforming to ply ramps and contours. They are especially useful for composite parts with complex shapes, small radii, and large aspect ratio features as they enable a quasi-liquid pressure transfer that allows the tailoring of the pressure distribution, resulting in the desired internal composite structure and surface finish. The utilization of these elastomeric cauls in combination with the stiffener can improve the laminate quality. Female radii can be specifically intensified and male radii protected. The design and use of such cauls is discussed together with design considerations and a case study. Results are presented indicating that the features of the cauls do not translate directly into the composite and specific adjustments can be made to improve tolerances.


Authors: Mathias Hecht, Robert Harshberger, and Finley Miller


Conference: CAMX 2016 – Anaheim


SKU/Code: TP16-0028


Pages: 11

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