National Physical Laboratory

Development of Traceable Measurements to Improve Quality in Advanced Composite Components

The Foresight study of the UK polymer composites industry noted that manufacturing issues were critical to the future health of the industry; and included faster take up of new manufacturing processes, improved manufacturing consistency and quality, and more cost effective production.

The industry trends highlighted were the move from open to closed moulding (i.e. reduced styrene exposure, improved quality and reduced manufacturing costs), and increased out-of-autoclave processing (reduced energy costs, while maintaining quality). In addition, quality assurance is essential for composites in safety critical components, e.g. medical applications such as spinal implants.

Orientation web inputs on industry needs, together with direct contact with manufacturers, have identified several related aspects regarding measuring and controlling quality aspects of composites manufacture. Many users highlighted the essential requirement to be able to measure residual stress in the major growth area of thick components (e.g. aircraft wing boxes, underwater pressure vessels, etc).

The aim of this project is to ensure that appropriate tools and measurement techniques are in place to ensure that materials are correctly cured, have an acceptable level and distribution of residual stress, and low levels of voidage, fibre kinks and waviness.

For more information, please contact Tony Maxwell

Last Updated: 2 Apr 2012
Created: 24 Jul 2007

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