TenCate Advanced Composites developed a new format of reinforced thermoplastic laminate that incorporates recycled materials and offers processability and design advantages. Undertaken by TenCate’s internal Research & Product Development group, this research is in collaboration with multiple graduate students who are utilizing this platform for their ongoing research projects.
The new format represents continuous carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic laminates that are enhanced with a flow layer of discontinuous fiber, either from virgin or recycled thermoplastic composites. This construction enables designers of composite components to easily add more complex features and benefit from the optimized material performance of continuous fiber reinforced laminates, maintaining a robust and cost-efficient stamp forming process.
The format enables features such as encompass edge sealing and local strengthening or stiffening of the part, stiffening ribs, textures, and variable thicknesses as well as reinforced pads to spread strains induced by fasteners—providing the engineer the opportunity to design a thinner laminate.
No chemical changes take place during the thermoplastic part manufacturing process. The processing time relates predominately to achieving the melt temperature for impregnation. While press and autoclave consolidation can be utilized, lasers used to rapidly heat thermoplastic composites provide more cost-effective processes by leveraging faster part fabrication cycles.
Lasers heat an extremely localized area in a very short period of time. Depending on what type of AFP machine is available, the power of the lasers and the thickness, and complexity of the part, will dictate the appropriate AFP approach:
1) Completely consolidate the material as it is being laid down. The amount of time needed at the consolidation temperature is short, usually less than a second. The quality of the tape entering this process (fully impregnated, consistent, and with no internal voids) is critical for the quality of the final part;
2) Lay down the material as quickly as possible with a post-processing part consolidation step such as a vacuum bag consolidation process in an oven. Typically, the part is 50-90% consolidated using the AFP machine.
Developed by Xperion PPC over 25 years ago, this process uses multiple heated and cooled dies to continuously form prepregs into shapes ranging from simple flat laminates and L-sections, to completely closed boxed beams in virtually any length required. Modern technological advances have benefited the CCM process with increased parameter control and improved part quality. CCM machines are now available at over half a dozen manufacturers in the United States as well as several companies in Europe.
Our engineered PAEK combines the high service temperature and outstanding mechanical and chemical properties of other PAEK family materials with a lower processing temperature and superior processing characteristics. TenCate Cetex® TC1225 is available as an excellent quality uni-directional (UD) tape, fabric reinforced prepreg, and fabric reinforced thermoplastic laminate.
TenCate Cetex® UD tapes
The growth of thermoplastic composites in large parts and demanding industries, such as primary and secondary aircraft structures, has led to increased demand for materials suited for large-scale production and process automation.
Benefits of TenCate Cetex® UD tapes:
> Uniform fiber distribution
> Even resin distribution around the fibers
> Low void content
> Low tension in UD tape
The low melt viscosity of TenCate Cetex® TC1225 UD ensures a strong bond between the different layers of a laminate. Combined with the relatively low processing temperature of the UD tape, this aids in speeding the production process.
While composite parts from UD tapes are often press or autoclave consolidated, TC1225 achieves excellent results in vacuum-aided oven consolidation. Out-of-autoclave processing is viewed as a next-generation process and has great potential to decrease processing time, costs, and energy usage considerably.
In 2009, TenCate Advanced Composites, together with Boeing, Fokker, and University of Twente, became a founding father of the ThermoPlastic composites Research Center (TPRC), committing to the long-term initiative of aligning the thermoplastic composite supply chain, developing new knowledge, and disseminating specific thermoplastic composites know-how to a broad supply basis.
TPRC’s global partners and members include material and equipment suppliers, engineering firms, parts manufacturers, and OEMs. By working together on dedicated topics, TenCate is accelerating the speed of innovation.
TPRC’s Technical Advisory Board, of which TenCate Advanced Composites’ Winand Kok is a member, is responsible for reviewing roadmap projects, defining new projects, leading discussions, and learning about specific topics in thermoplastic composites. The TPRC also supports its members with their own specific projects.
Previous TPRC roadmap projects:
> Material characterization and testing;
> Thermoforming simulation;
> Processing characterization;
> One- and two-step injection over-molding (COMPeTE)
|People that make a difference|
A graduate of the Delft University of Technology with a master's degree in Aerospace Engineering, Winand Kok manages TenCate's expert services team in Europe for both thermoplastic and thermoset composite materials. Prior to joining TenCate in 2006, he performed multiple qualification activities for Fokker (now Fokker-GKN) on the NH90 helicopter project with a responsibility for multiple qualification activities. He is also a cofounder of KVE, a Dutch engineering company specializing in the induction welding of thermoplastic composites, among other disciplines.
Winand and his team of engineers at TenCate are proud to provide high levels of service to customers and sales personnel, offering support ranging from advice on material selection to product design, and manufacturing processes. He also participates in material qualification programs, an important activity in aerospace. Winand has been involved with the ThermoPlastic composite Research Center (TPRC) in Enschede, Netherlands, for more than a decade as a member of the Technical Advisory Board and a member of the Foundation Board.
|People that make a difference|
A graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Dan Leeser has over 30 years of thermoplastic composite experience. The past 9 years of his career have been with TenCate, most recently leading TenCate’s technical service team for thermoplastics in the United States.
Dan started his aerospace materials career with General Dynamics (now Lockheed-Martin) working with thermoset composite materials on the F-16 fighter program along with thermoplastic materials for next-generation aircraft. Dan later moved to Fiberite (now Solvay), and several other raw material companies focused on thermoplastic and thermoset prepreg composites.
Dan’s wide background in materials spans aerospace, defense, automotive, marine, oil and gas, and sporting good markets. At TenCate, Dan assists current and new users of thermoplastics composites in selecting and implementing the best material for their application while providing technical service and support on manufacturing and processing. Dan’s group also helps customers by developing the material property databases designed to aid understanding of the material's capabilities.
Dan is married and has one son, who is currently attending college. He resides in the Boston, Massachusetts area and enjoys outdoor sports, including hiking and cycling in the summer, and skiing in the winter.
TenCate’s XTS is a continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRT®) composite laminate, blending the benefits of a thermoplastic polymer with uni-directional glass fibers for enhanced performance. The XTS style laminate is offered in multilayer constructions and orientations. It is ultra-thin, lightweight, and resilient for improved energy return and impact resistance.
TenCate CFRT® composite materials are "tunable," when used for orthotics, and footwear design allows them to be tailored to increase or limit the range of foot motion with fiber replacement, resin, and component design. The fiber placement can be selected to provide the greatest mechanical properties in the desired direction. Similar to a continuous “bridge,” TenCate CFRT® materials provide engineered strength from one end of the component to the other.
TenCate CFRT® benefits:
> Impact resistant
Read the full case study to learn more about how XTS materials were selected to enhance the design and performance of the OrthoGolfer Elite® Insole, the first over-the-counter golf “orthotic" specifically designed to aid players in correcting their stance and perfecting their golf swings.
Images are copyright © 2017 OrthoGolfer.com and all rights reserved.
TenCate has launched TC275-1E, an extended out life version of TenCate’s popular TC275-1 out -of-autoclave epoxy resin.
TC275-1E features the same mechanical properties as TC275-1 with a tack life of 21 days and an out life of 28 days with no drop in properties as measured by short beam shear testing.
|Tack Life/Out time||14 / 21 days||21 / 28 days|
|Laminate Tg DMA Onset - dry||186°C / 367°F||175°C / 347°F|
|Laminate Tg DMA Onset - wet||156°C / 313°F||152°C / 306°F|
|Compression Strength - RTD||1,520 MPa / 222 ksi||1,418 MPa / 206 ksi|
|Open-Hole Compression - RTD||332 MPa / 48 ksi||318 MPa / 46 ksi|
|Open-Hole Compression - ETW||315 MPa / 46 ksi||287 MPa / 42 ksi|
Manning was the event's keynote speaker and during his talk elaborated on the XB-1 Supersonic demonstrator currently under construction. TenCate’s TC350-1 high temperature epoxy is being utilized for fuselage and airframe applications on the XB-1, with TenCate’s TC420 ultra-high temperature cyanate ester system chosen for the engine nacelle and cowlings. Initial goals are to fabricate these structures with these two systems using out-of-autoclave processing.
Victrex presented “Over-molding of PEEK compounds for composite aerospace brackets,” a paper on their new PAEK resin system, which is successfully used in over-molding with high melt temperature PEEK-filled resins. Through the COMPeTE project, TPRC produced a demonstrator using TenCate’s Cetex® TC1225 PAEK thermoplastic skins and an injection over-molded Victrex-filled PEEK system for the integrated ribs.
Abstract: Many traditional metallic aerospace structures have in recent years been substituted with laminated advanced carbon fiber reinforced thermosetting polymer composites in a bid to save weight and consequent operating costs by increasing fuel efficiency.... In this paper, we demonstrate an over-molding technology that combines the structural rigidity of laminated thermoplastic composites based on a novel polyaromatic ether ketone polymer (PAEK) with the design flexibility and fast production speed of injection molding that provides both weight savings and cost reductions of up to 40%...
The Center for Lightweight Production Technology presented a paper titled "Automated Production and Joining of High-Performance Structures Out of Carbon Fiber Reinforced Thermoplastics," where TenCate’s Cetex® TC1200 PEEK standard-modulus UD tape was highlighted.
Abstract: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastics (CFRPs) have been widely applied in modern wide-body aircraft, but they’re also increasingly interesting for structural parts in single-aisle aircraft... To be able to compete with metal-based solutions, it is necessary to consider alternative production technologies for CFRPs as well as to optimize established cost-intensive production processes...
The Aerospace Corporation, a longtime TenCate customer won the 2017 ACE Award’s Design Category for the Most Creative Composite Application. The Aerospace Corp. submitted their concept of a rapid manufactured ultra-high quality composite mirror. The background of the project studied that while glass is typically used for optical components in space, composite mirrors can be fabricated at a fraction of the weight of glass.
TenCate’s epoxy carbon fiber prepregs were utilized as the substrate and optical precision was attained via an optimized proprietary mono-layer mold release coating which eliminated the costly post-polishing steps and which was UV cured to provide high hygroscopic stability. As a result of significant cost, weight, and manufacturing time reductions, these composite mirrors are expected to replace glass mirrors on future space telescope missions. This product is in the R&D stage with three pending US patents and contracts to license for full-scale manufacturing. Read more...
January 29th - February 1st
Palm Springs, CA, USA
Museum of Flight
Paris Nord de Villepinte
March 6th - 8th
Hall 5A, Booth V40
Belfast, Northern Ireland
January 30th - 31st
Wilmington, MA, USA