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Thermoplastic composite sandwiches for structural helicopter applications

Composite sandwich structures offer excellent lightweight properties for the aviation industry. Replacing thermoset based materials and honeycomb structures with thermoplastic composite (TPC) materials and foam cores seems promising for lowering manufacturing and in-service costs and thereby the direct operating costs of aviation vehicles. Consequently, this thesis deals with the development of sandwich structures based on carbon fibre (CF) reinforced Polyetheretherketone (PEEK) skins and Polyetherimide (PEI) foam cores for structural sandwich applications in helicopters. Skins and core are joined cohesively by fusion bonding, a technique which leads to high bond strengths while being realisable in short cycle times. To understand the process governing mechanisms, and to define a process window which enables high bond strengths while preventing skin de-consolidation and core collapse, a theoretical model based on ‘intimate contact’ and ‘healing’ is deduced for the manufacturing process. This model enables the prediction of the skin-to-core bond depending on varying skin and core temperatures. A comparison to thermoset based state-of-the-art sandwich structures, namely prepreg-Nomex® and Polymethacrylimide (PMI) foam based structures shows lesser performance of the developed TPC sandwich structures, though reveals promising short manufacturing cycle times which can be half that of cycle times for state-of the-art aviation sandwiches. To improve the performance and be able to fulfil the requirements, concepts based on pin integration into the foam core are proposed and the potential of strengthening the core is illustrated. Moreover, within the framework of this thesis a formed panel is realised to show the performance of thermoplastic sandwich structures for formed parts. Thereby, it is shown that skins and core need to be formed prior to the fusion bonding process.

Lesen Sie die deutsche Zusammenfassung auf Kunststoffe.de
Author
 Jonas Grünewald

Jonas Grünewald
Fakultät für Ingenieurwissenschaften
Universität Bayreuth

Information

Free keywords: Thermoplastic composite sandwich structures, Composite materials, Structural helicopter application, Fusion bonding, Modelling Sandwich testing
Institute / chair: Lehrstuhl für Polymere Werkstoffe der Universität Bayreuth
Language: English
Technical consultant for expert services: Professor Dr.-Ing. Volker Altstädt, Professor Dr.-Ing. Alois K. Schlarb
Publication year: 2018
Provider: Wissenschaftlicher Arbeitskreis Kunststofftechnik (WAK) / Kunststoffe.de

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