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Combuss at 19th European Conference on Composite Materials

Mon, 20 July, 2020

Dr Sadik Omairey from Brunel Composites Centre (BCC) delivered a presentation at the 19th European Conference on Composite Materials (ECCM19 - online section). Sadik highlighted the benefits of using COMBUSS’s out-of-autoclave multi-zone self-heating composite tooling compared with traditional autoclave and oven curing processes. In Sadik’s presentation, the steps of developing this tooling system, including tool configuration, heating elements, zones, and the thermal management system were illustrated.

A multi-zone self-heating composite tool is developed to manufacture out-of-autoclave complex, and high-quality business jet lower wing stiffened composite panel. Autoclave manufacturing is regarded as a benchmark for manufacturing aerospace-grade quality composite parts. However, high accruing and operational costs limit their practicality for smaller-scale companies and bars production rates. Therefore, significant work towards developing out-of-autoclave manufacturing is underway.

In this study, a production line tool is devolved with embedded heating fabric that elevates temperature at the desired zones, replacing the need for autoclave cure. It investigates and identifies the optimal design parameters of the self-heating setup including the placement of the heating fabric, zones, thermal management system, temperature distribution, heating rate and thermal performance using a thermal FEA model.

The associated thermal characterisation of the tooling material and the part are measured for accurate simulation results. The design developed in this study will be used as production guideline for the actual tool.