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Far-MFD CiC Manufacturing Demonstration Facility Report

Project Objectives: Overall to use innovative processes to introduce composites to new customers - To set up a prototyping facility. Developing the capability for two new processes. Achieving 20 employees.

FAR – Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MFD)


Using innovative processes to introduce composites to new customers

Project objectives

Establishment of a prototyping facility

Develop capability for 2 new processes

Achieve 20 employees

This article focuses on the second process developed within this project.  Behind the process is a concept of a beam with more of a solid / thick walled cross-section using foamed resin to keep density down. It is hoped that with this approach a beam with good stiffness and strength can be produced for a fraction of the cost of an equivalent thin wall hollow section carbon fibre tube.

Since the last report the team have made the following progress:

Beams have been made using an approximation of the final process, this time with carbon fibre and PU foaming resin. 

The manufacturing process control has been tightened by removing the manual movement of the chop-spray gun.  Now the gun is fixed and the tool traverses along roller tracking with a speed controller. 

The latest sample beams have been produced with double the volume fraction (now ~ 24%) and double the fibre length (now ~2”) 

To maintain the correct mass fractions within the beam the fill time was increased from 6s for the glass fibre beams to 18s for the carbon fibre beams. 

The resultant testing of strength and stiffness show some promising results and line up with the predictions made using rule of mixture calculations. 

Loughborough University have been helping with characterisation of the beams produced using their CT scan equipment which can identify the location and orientation of fibres within the cross-section. 

Work will continue with this process arrangement to further increase the carbon fibre volume fraction and then to produce enough good quality beams to perform full material characterisation.