Using Reconfigurable Tooling and Surface Heating for Incremental Forming of Composite Aircraft Parts

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel F. Walczyk, Jean F. Hosford

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, & Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180

John M. Papazian

Northrop Grumman Corporation, Bethpage, NY

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 125(2), 333-343 (Apr 15, 2003) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1561456 History: Received May 01, 2001; Revised June 01, 2002; Online April 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by ASME
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(a) Close-up of the hemispherical-tipped die elements comprising the reconfigurable forming tool with small toggle clamps used to seal the frame and diaphragm to the tool, and (b) Composite forming with a 0.51 mm thick silicone diaphragm.
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Shape development using the simple proportional rule. Forming occurs on both axes simultaneously. Note that the hemispherical pin ends are not illustrated.
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Sequential forming. Shape is developed about the short axis of the ellipse first, followed by a bend about the long axis of the ellipse. Using terminology defined in Section 4.2.4, this represents the short-long bending sequence, where the initial bend is parallel to the short axis of the tool.
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(a) Composite is supported by a vacuum drawn between two elastic rubber diaphragms and heated with an infrared heat source. (b) Box is evacuated and/or pressure is applied from above to form the heated composite over a single mold.
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Reconfigurable forming tool comprised of a matrix of discrete elements
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Schematic of the proposed forming process involving incremental deformation of a convectively heated composite over a reconfigurable forming tool
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Time history of temperature through the thickness of the composite
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Bottom view of the hot air plenum showing the seven-nozzle arrangement
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Experimental setup used to prove concept. Hot air plenum suspended over an 8×12 pin reconfigurable tool.
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Inscribed ellipsoid of revolution used as a benchmark forming shape. All dimensions are in millimeters.
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(a) No interpolator allows the spherical pin tips to telegraph through the composite lay-up. (b) The foam composite interpolator consisting of 25.4 mm upholstery foam and 6.4 mm of closed cell foam resulted in a very smooth surface. Note, the sample is wrinkled, thus, the forming conditions are not sufficient to suppress wrinkling.
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Wrinkles can form in two modes; the excess material is pushed outward (left) and the excess is pushed inward (right).
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Cross-section of the lay-up used for composite heating experiments. All dimensions are in millimeters. (Not to Scale)



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