Metalmorphosis’ final seminar

The 30 months Metalmorphosis Project is really close to its end. In order to show and demonstrate the results achieved a final seminar is going to be held in the headquarters of the Belgian Welding Institute in Gant on the 24th of February 2016.

The admission to this event is free subjected to registration: http://goo.gl/forms/H0qr2ud0zY

The project has been focused on the development and optimization of hybrid joints between metal and composite hybrid parts in order to obtain enhanced automotive components with integrated functions. The joints are obtained thanks to the application of electromagnetic forces. This technology allows joining composite materials that are not weldable, eliminates the heat affected zone, is a clean process and reduces the cost of the joints. In the first half of the project, important innovations have been introduced in tubular and flat joints working with laboratory specimens, while in the second half, the knowledge generated has been applied to the development of automotive components.

The consortium is formed by nine partners. BWI, Centimfe (leader), Cidaut and Cidaut have focused their effort in the research and development activities. STAM is the responsible of the LCA analysis. Poynting is an SME specialized in the development of electromagnetic joining devices. Regeneracija, Tenneco and Toolpresse are the industrial partners of the project; each of them has developed, with the support of the consortium, a demonstrator to apply the knowledge and demonstrate the advantages of the electromagnetic joining.

Regeneracija has designed a bumper, where the crash box is designed in CFRP, and the cross beam is a sandwich of CFRP and aluminum. All the parts have been assembled attending to the technology developed for flat joints.

Tenneco has improved the design of its shock absorber reducing the number of components and simplifying the assembly process thanks to the integration of functions through electromagnetic tubular joints.

Toolpresse has created a new concept of hybrid pedal brake where both ends are manufactured by plastic injection to fulfill the geometric requirements and the central part is extruded in aluminum obtaining a stiff light component.

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ACCUBLADE project (CLEAN SKY): CIDAUT contributes to the validation of Active Gurney Flap systems for rotorcraft blades through innovative research on composites process and tooling design

One of the most challenging areas of research leaded by the Green Rotorcraft Consortium (GRC) within the Clean Sky Program was the development of Active Rotor Technologies as the Active Gurney Flap (AGF) systems, which enable a helicopter to operate with a reduced tip speed of its main rotor whilst preserving the current flight capabilities. The on-going validation of innovative AGF systems by the GRC required the manufacturing and testing in wind tunnel tests of small scale composite model blades before their implementation at full scale. The integration of the AGF systems into the model blades (figure 1) demanded a precise process and tooling design in order to allow an accurate assembly for an efficient performance.

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Figure 1 Scheme of rotorcraft model blade with AFG system

Due to the small scale, the dimensional tolerances of the model rotor blade were very tight (less than +/- 0,1mm on the aerodynamic profile). This fact represented a great challenge for process and tooling design. Actually, to fulfil those tight tolerances, not only the mould had to be machined with very high precision means, but also the cavity design had to be designed with special consideration for minimizing any shape distortion induced by the process due to the different thermal and chemical shrinkage of the materials.

In close collaboration with the GRC consortium, CIDAUT contributed with its expertise in composite materials processing, and an innovative tooling design methodology. This methodology was based in process simulations capable of predicting distortions and solving process related issues from the early design stage. The methodology also avoided the need for expensive and long lasting trial and error procedures. Process simulation models developed by CIDAUT in the ACCUBLADE project included thermal and impregnation simulations for the analysis and optimization of critical process related issues, such as shape distortions caused by the different CTE of the materials, temperature gradients, or potential resin flow defects.

Laboratory characterisation tests were carried out with the selected materials in order to determine the required input data for the modelling of the most relevant causes of distortions when processing composite materials, including the warping and spring-in phenomena. Process simulation models were well correlated with experimental results obtained through the processing of flat and C-profile coupons with different layups and curing conditions (figure 2).

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Figure 2 Simulation of process induced distortions: warping and spring-in phenomena

Based on the results of process simulations, the design of the suite of tools required for the processing of the model blades was optimized. This included the selection of the optimum tool materials, the definition of the proper alignment and clamping systems, and the integration of an efficient and homogenous heating and cooling system with in-mould sensors. Also, with the aim of evaluating potential improvements in the manufacturing process in terms of quality and costs, the mould was designed and manufactured allowing the evaluation of two alternative processes, both aimed at producing the same net model rotor blade product: compression moulding and SQRTM.

All tools were manufactured by CIDAUT using very fine milling means, and inspected to guarantee the fulfilment of the requirement specifications before putting them at the disposal of the GRC consortium for the processing of the model blades. The first three model blades produced with the tools (figure 3) were used for the validation of process and tooling designs, being subjected to destructive and non-destructive inspection tests including mechanical substantiation tests with fully satisfactory results.

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Figure 3 Rotorcraft model blade produced for the integration of AGF systems

CIDAUT in MATCOMP 2015: The XI National Congress on Composite Materials

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The XI Spanish National Congress on Composite Materials is organized by the Rey Juan Carlos University, AEMAC and FIDAMC, and its main sponsors are AIRBUS Group, ACITURRI, AERNNOVA, HEXCEL, ALESTIS Aerospace and TEAMS. CIDAUT participated presenting two different papers, one dedicated to development of material models for short fibre reinforced materials entitled “Implementación de una Metodología para considerar el Proceso de Inyección en el Diseño de Componentes Reforzados con Fibra Corta”, and a second one focused on the implementation of design methodologies for continuous carbon fibre composites for automotive safety components entitled “Procedimientos de Optimización para el Diseño de Componentes de Seguridad Activa en Materiales Compuestos”.

The MATCOMP series of National Congresses is one of the most important meetings between the academic, scientific and industrial communities within the composite materials field in Spain. The main objective was the establishment of a communication channel between the industry and the technical and scientific community to promote research, development, innovation

This year CIDAUT’s contribution was focused on the design of automotive components. Nowadays everything turn around weight reduction, new environmental standards, less emissions, therefore all this inputs are calling for sustainability in mobility, which will be achieved with less pollution power trains and light weight designs.

Short fibre reinforced components have considerably improved mechanical properties in terms of stiffness and structural strength thanks to the fibre contribution to their performance. Though used in the automotive industry for a long time, the influence of the manufacturing process is seldom taken into account because of the lack of an easy design methodology. CIDAUT research goes through combining complex material models with thermal and mechanical behavior in order to fulfill the OEM requirements and offer a light and high performance product.

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If weight reduction is considered, then advanced composite materials, and especially those combining continuous fibre with plastic matrix are very well poised for growth. In this context our research carries out the development of a suspension arm, continuous fibre and plastic matrix is rarely found in active safety components. The most critical load cases have been selected from the most common maneuvers of the B segment vehicle. The packaging and manufacturing requirements have been taken account during the development. Besides, new joints have been developed between the control arm and the surrounding components, due to it has not been possible to apply the same solutions that in metallic parts.

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Finally we have accomplished the objectives, developing a control arm with a mass reduction over 40% and the same performance of a metal predecessor.

If you want to know more about our researches in the field of composite materials, get in touch with us, we are always happy to share our experiences and find new collaboration opportunities. www.cidaut.es/en/contact

CIDAUT will be at MATCOMP 2015: The XI National Congress on Composite Materials

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The XI Spanish National Congress on Composite Materials (http://matcomp15.org/) is jointly organized by the Rey Juan Carlos University, AEMAC (The Spanish Association of Composite Materials) and FIDAMC, and its main sponsor is AIRBUS Group. CIDAUT will participate presenting two different papers, one dedicated to development of material models for short fibre reinforced materials, and a second one focused on the implementation of design methodologies for continuous carbon fibre composites for automotive safety components.

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The MATCOMP series of National Congresses have, ever since their founding in 1995, become the most important meeting between the academic, scientific and industrial communities within the composite materials field in Spain. The main objective has always been the establishment of a communication channel between the industry and the technical and scientific community to promote research, development, innovation, as well as the use and spreading of composite materials.

CIDAUT has taken part in these congresses in the past, and this year our contribution is focused on the design of automotive components. Nowadays it’s all about weight reduction, new environmental standards are calling for sustainability in mobility, which will be achieved with greener power trains and optimized light weight designs.

Short fibre reinforced components have considerably improved mechanical properties in terms of stiffness and structural strength thanks to the fibre contribution to their performance. Though used in the automotive industry for a long time, the influence of the manufacturing process is seldom taken into account because of the lack of an easy to implement design methodology, as current research goes through complex material models or expensive and very specific software packages.

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BMW i3 Profile (Source: BMW Group Press Club)

If weight reduction is considered, then advanced composite materials, and especially those combining continuous fibre with plastic matrixes are very well poised for growth. In this context, several continuous carbon fibre components can be found in the automotive industry, from bonnets, front end structures, underbodies, side pillars or roofs, to the ambitious BMW i3 passenger cell. Our research deals with designing a suspension arm, which is probably one of the lesser found examples in the sector. A list of critical load cases has been selected from the suspension arm of a representative B segment vehicle. The packaging requirements have been taken from the same vehicle as well, imposing a limit on the available design volume. The challenge in this design lies mainly in taking into account manufacturing requirements such as the desirable symmetry of the staking, the correct combination of biaxial non crimp fabric plies with UD reinforcements, the limits on the possible orientations if the curvature radius grows imposed by the manufacturing process, together with the mechanical load cases and the available design space.

Meet us at MATCOMP the 6th-8th of July 2015 to know more about our research in the field of composite materials, or get in touch with us, we are always happy to share our experiences and find new collaboration opportunities.

WASIS: Vibro-acoustic characterisation of the CFRP fuselage section

As one of the last activities carried out within the WASIS FP7 Project, Cidaut performed the vibro-acoustic characterisation of two components, firstly one test panel and secondly the largest fuselage section (1m diameter prototype). In both cases the study covered low and high frequency ranges. The aim of this activity was to validate FEM/BEM models for low frequency range and SEA models for high frequency.

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The panel dimensions correspond to the real scale size of the aircraft fuselage. The idea was to learn about the panel behaviour before addressing the 1:2 scale aircraft fuselage. Two test methods were used to identify the behaviour at low frequencies: inertance tests and experimental modal analysis. For the high frequencies the Transmission Loss and Radiation Factor were obtained. Trough these parameters coupling loss factors associated with each phenomenon can be derived.

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To characterize the barrel, two different tests have been designed aiming to reproduce the noise field and acoustic loads the fuselage section would be exposed to in real conditions. In these tests the transmitted energies between different parts of the specimen are measured. Besides, the Transmission Loss and radiation factor were obtained.

To complete this task, vibro-acoustic models of filament winding structures were developed. The results of these models have been correlated with the results of structure characterization. Once the validation of both models was finished, a new model of a full scale filament winding fuselage was carried out.

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All these models have helped characterize the vibro acoustic performance of Wasis Composite Prototypes, enabling the project Consortium to assess not only the mechanical performance, but also other factors such as the transmission loss and radiation factor.