SEP 2018


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SEPTEMBER 2018 50 CompositesWorld Welding thermoplastic composites » Unlike composites made with a thermoset matrix, thermoplastic composites (TPCs) require neither complex chemical reactions nor lengthy curing processes. ermoplastic prepregs require no refrig- eration, offering practically infinite shelf life. e polymers used in aerospace TPCs — polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), polyetherimide (PEI), polyetheretherketone (PEEK), polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) and polyarylketone (PAEK) — offer high damage toler- ance in finished parts, as well as moisture and chemical resistance and, thus, do not degrade in hot/wet conditions. And they can be remelted, promising benefits in repair and end-of-life recyclability. But perhaps the greatest driver for TPC use in developing aircraft is the ability to join components via fusion bonding/welding. It presents an attractive alternative to the conventional methods — mechanical fastening and adhesive bonding — used to join ther- moset composite (TSC) parts. As defined in the widely cited paper, "Fusion Bonding/Welding Induction welded window frame for TPC fuselage This compression molded short CF/PPS reinforcement ring, induction welded to a TenCate CF/PPS CETEX skin by KVE Composites (Den Haag, The Netherlands), demonstrates how window frames could be assembled in future TPC airframes. Source | KVE Composites / Photo | Ginger Gardiner By Ginger Gardiner / Senior Editor Multiple methods advance toward faster robotic welds using new technology for increased volumes and larger aerostructures.

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