Research Papers

Near-Net-Shape Manufacturing of Short Fiber Composite Parts via Discrete Depositions

[+] Author and Article Information
K. A. Gunnerson, R. J. Cipra, T. Siegmund

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

Panex 33, Zoltek Inc., Bridgeton, MO 63044.

West Systems 205 resin and 206 hardener, Gougeon Brothers, Inc.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 130(6), 061002 (Oct 09, 2008) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2976122 History: Received June 21, 2007; Revised June 12, 2008; Published October 09, 2008

A novel approach for the near-net-shape manufacturing of short fiber reinforced composite parts through robotic deposition of chopped fibers is presented. A device for the deposition of discrete packets of short fibers is developed. A simulation tool is described that predicts the optimal locations within a mold to deposit fibers from the deposition device in order to obtain composites with a uniform fiber density distribution within a part of complex perimeter geometry. The implementation of the deposition device in conjunction with a six-degree-of-freedom robot is described. Composite preforms are generated, and subsequently converted into composite parts via resin transfer molding. Mechanical testing was conducted on near-net-shape manufactured notched specimens and notched specimens machined from the bulk. Testing shows that the near-net-shape manufactured specimens possess at least equal stiffness and strength to those machined from the bulk.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

(a) Conceptual design of the deposition device and (b) functional system attached to the robot

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Figure 2

Components of the deposition device

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Figure 3

Details of the (a) cartridge body and (b) mounting plate

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Figure 4

Characterization of the fiber deposition: (a) fibers (colored) deposited onto a surface already covered with fibers, (b) digital image of fibers after filtering, and (c) summation of 20 images of sparse depositions

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Figure 5

(a) Experimentally determined mass distribution and (b) fit by Gauss function, Eq. 1.

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Figure 6

Radial cumulative distribution

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Figure 7

Fiber orientation distribution

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Figure 8

Coulomb repulsion model: (a) initial “seeding” of points and (b) equally spaced points obtained through Coulomb repulsion and a fixed offset condition from the boundary Ω

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Figure 9

Interaction of the mass deposition with a boundary

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Figure 10

Characterization of the fiber deposition near a concave surface: (a) digital image of fibers after filtering, (b) summation of a series of depositions, and (c) simulation predicting the outcome of the deposition

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Figure 11

Geometry used for component manufacturing: (a) geometric representation, (b) optimal deposition simulation, and (c) an experimental mold physically filled with a sparse deposition

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Figure 12

Distribution of difference between the actual fiber mass distribution measured after deposition and the path-planning prediction (mean height is at −4%)

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Figure 13

Specimen preparation: (a) schematic representation of the composite part showing shape and originating locations of Types I and II specimens, (b) actual specimens after testing (two on the right are Type II and two on the left are Type I), and (c) test specimen dimensional geometry. The epoxy resin was loaded with a white pigment to highlight the microstructure.

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Figure 14

Tensile test specimen and geometric simplification




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