SEP 2018


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SEPTEMBER 2018 54 CompositesWorld FEATURE / Welding Thermoplastic Composites UD CF/PEKK tape and was producing demonstrators for the ermoplastic Affordable Primary Aircraft Structure (TAPAS) program. By 2010, it had completed 3D simulations of induction-welded UD CF laminates with lightning strike protection (LSP) and had worked with thick laminates (≤5 mm for UD PEEK and PEKK, ≤15 mm for carbon fiber fabric/PPS). KVE had also designed and built a TPC rudder for e Boeing Co.'s (Chicago, IL, US) Phantom Eye UAV, which Boeing then began producing in 2011. By 2014, the company had produced induction- welded UD CF/PEKK demonstrators and is now working with multiple OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to help qualify this technology for other aircraft structures. Moving from fabric to UD tape Induction welding is well suited for carbon fiber fabric, says Offringa, "but with UD tape, there is a new set of challenges to reach production speeds." As explained by Dr. Michel van Tooren, director of the SmartState Center for Multifunctional Materials and Struc- tures, part of the McNair Center at the University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC, US), "For induction in CFRP laminates, you need fibers at two different angles — preferably angles as far away as possible — for eddy currents to be generated." e perpendicular 0° and 90° fiber orientation in woven fabric is ideal, enabling eddy currents to be generated in each ply of the laminate. With UD laminate stacks, however, it is common to have 45° plies interspersed so that the angle differ- ence is smaller. "e eddy current heating mechanism is affected because these directions are not perpendicular, adds Maarten Labordus, head of R&D at KVE. "ere also is no distinct fiber FIG. 3 Induction welding matures for future aerostructures industrialization Computer simulation is advancing beyond fabric laminates to UD materials — for example, this analysis of induction welding on a four-ply laminate [45°/-45°/0°/90°] shows simultaneously the eddy currents and heat being generated by each ply — offering the ability to predict performance when switching to new materials and define optimal coil shape, power, robot speed and heating profile for a given application. Source | KVE Composites Streamline production processes with sealant mixing and dispensing systems that apply precisely the right amount, in precisely the right place. For faster production through automation innovation, visit: With our automated sealant dispensing solutions, the sky is the limit for aircraft production

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