Infoscience

Journal article

Consolidation of net-shape random fiber thermoplastic composite preforms

A novel thermoplastic composite preforming process has been developed. This thermoplastic programmable powdered preforming process (TP-P4) uses commingled glass and polypropylene yarns, which are chopped to a desired length and deposited onto a vacuum screen. The as-placed fibers are then heat-set for improved handling, before potential preconsolidation, and final conversion with preheating and press forming. This work investigated the effect of using either a double belt lamination preconsolidation stage or using an improved heat-setting stage. Polymer degradation was examined using gel permeation chromatography analysis, and the void content evolution tracked using image analysis techniques from the heat setting stage until the final part. It was shown that without preconsolidation, preforms prepared for a 2 mm thick final pressed part could be compression molded into a substantially void free, non degraded part. By using the lamination route, this limit could be increased to 4 mm, but without allowing local thickness changes in the preform. POLYM. COMPOS., 2009. © 2009 Society of Plastics Engineers

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