Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS) Academic awarded High Value Manufacturing Catapult Researcher in Residence
13 February 2018
Project title: Robust Processing of Composite Materials for Right-First-Time Manufacture
Dr James Kratz will be working with a team at the National Composites Centre who are aiming to instrument large-scale automated composite manufacturing equipment. Composite materials have the potential to be the ultimate designer material, orienting high-performance carbon fibres along the primary load path, delivering lightweight advanced structures. Although significant progress has been made utilising composite materials in high-performance applications, slow careful lamination of pre-impregnated plies and autoclave curing is required to ensure the highest part quality.
The aim of this EPSRC and Catapult Pull-through project is to instrument composite manufacturing process development to provide a link between processing and the material microstructure that give composites their excellent mechanical properties. When upscaling to industrial manufacturing environments, material variability and process boundary conditions often cause deviations from the material properties obtained during material screening to those observed in the finished large-scale composite structure. Deficient parts will require corrective action and may require concession, generating disruptions to product flows, adding to costs, and significantly reducing the productive capacity of the composites industry.
There is a need for every company manufacturing composite structures to improve their productivity. The potential benefit of this work will be data driven decisions for UK companies throughout the supply chain, manufacturing with composite materials, which will enable increasing productive. UK manufactures will also have a competitive advantage if they can reduce costs by depositing material faster and eliminating out-of-tolerance parts. Achieving these aims will help ensure the UK has a leading position in next generation composite manufacturing technologies, process and products.