Polymer Matrix Composites
The general objectives of the polymer composites activities are the development of high performance fibre reinforced composites for space and aerospace applications, the improvement or modification of resin systems to introduce further functions like wear resistance, electrical conductivity, low shrinkage, impact resistance, lower permeability, UV protection, transparency, higher surface protection, flame retardancy or anti-ice capability and the development of concepts and sensors for process and usage monitoring.
The research activities are focused on the use of micro- and nano-sized fillers like ceramic nano particles (Alumina, Boehmit, Zircon Dioxide), nanoclays or carbon nanotubes, directely introduced in the polymer matrix or applied as coating or paint on the surface.
The composite laboratory has experience in all state-of-the-art manufacturing processes like lay-up with vacuum bag, Liquid infusion with resin flow medium process, vacuum assisted resin transfer moulding (VARTM), autoclave curing, warm press and resin transfer moulding (RTM).
The laboratory expertise and facilities are completed by a set of professional software tools like ANSYS Multiphysics and ACP for the mechanical and thermal simulation or PAM-RTM for the simulation of the resin infusion process.
Besides the development activities, the AAC provides the following services in composites technology:
- Raw material characterization: resin viscosity, curing parameters, density, chemical analysis...
- Process modelling and simulation: resin infusion (flow front propagation / dry spots), mechanical and thermal behaviours, spring-in effect …
- Component and sample manufacturing: liquid infusion, autoclave ...
- Component and sample characterization: mechanics, void and fiber content, impact, nondestructive testing ...
Examples of composite systems, used in previous projects:
|Components||Used in our laboratory|
|Resins||High performance epoxies, RTM epoxy, Cyanate Ester|
|Carbon fibers||ECC 462, Tenax HTA|
|Nanoparticles||Al2O3, Y:ZrO2, Nanoclay|
|Carbon nanotubes, nanofibres||Paper, felt, VGCF|
|Surface modification||Plasma treatment, chemical sizing, heat treatment|
|Curing temperature||RT till +180°C|
|Pressure||Vacuum till +8 Bar|
|Size||5cm x 5cm, 15cm x 15cm, 30cm x 30cm|
|Autoclave||Autoclave Scholz, up to 300°C and 10 Bars, 1m lenght x 50cm diameter|
|RTM||Plastech solid mould, up to 180°C curing cycle, 40cm x 40cm|
|Injection system||Tartler, up to 130°C, maximal pressure 60 bars, maximal injection rate 0.5L/min|
|Simulation||PAM-RTM, ANSYS Multiphysics, ANSYS Composite PrePost|
|Powder preparation||Wetting agent, surfactants, ball milling, ultra turrax, centrifuges|
|Vacuum techniques||Pumps, bags, SCRIMP, peel plies, breathers, breeders, release agents|
|Warm press||Saspol press up to 160 Tons, 40cm x 40cm|
|Sample size||5cm x 5cm, 15cm x 15cm, 30cm x 30cm|