Paper number 811

ISOTHERMAL AND NON-ISOTHERMAL CONSOLIDATION OF UNIDIRECTIONAL CARBON FIBRE-THERMOPLASTIC TOWPREGS

J. P. Nunes, A. M. Brito, A. S. Pouzada and C. A. Bernardo

Department of Polymer Engineering, Universidade do Minho, 4800 Guimar„es, Portugal

Summary The present work reports the utilisation of a recently proposed model for the consolidation of unidirectional thermoplastic towpregs in isothermal and non-isothermal conditions. A Finite Difference Method program was developed to simulate of the towpreg consolidation in non-isothermal conditions. To assess which thermal condition shall be used in practice, pressure/displacement curves determined experimentally from compression tests carried out at constant speed are compared with those obtained from the isothermal and non-isothermal simulations. In spite of the good agreement between the experimental and theoretical data, the results have shown that the compression moulding of unidirectional towpregs can only be well predicted in isothermal conditions when slow closing speeds and long pre-heating times are used.
Keywords modelling, isothermal and non-isothermal consolidation, compression moulding, carbon fibres, thermoplastic matrix composites, towpregs, powder coating process, Finite Difference Method (FDM).

Theme : Processing, Integrated Design and Manufacturing ; Processing

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