Simulation Based Low-Cost Composite Process Development at the US Air Force Research LaboratoryLow-cost composite research in the US Air Force Research Laboratory, Materials and Manufacturing Directorate, Organic Matrix Composites Branch has focused on the theme of affordable performance. Practically, this means that we use a very broad view when considering the affordability of composites. Factors such as material costs, labor costs, recurring and nonrecurring manufacturing costs are balanced against performance to arrive at the relative affordability vs. performance measure of merit. The research efforts discussed here are two projects focused on affordable processing of composites. The first topic is the use of a neural network scheme to model cure reaction kinetics, then utilize the kinetics coupled with simple heat transport models to predict, in real-time, future exotherms and control them. The neural network scheme is demonstrated to be very robust and a much more efficient method that mechanistic cure modeling approach. This enables very practical low-cost processing of thick composite parts. The second project is liquid composite molding (LCM) process simulation. LCM processing of large 3D integrated composite parts has been demonstrated to be a very cost effective way to produce large integrated aerospace components specific examples of LCM processes are resin transfer molding (RTM), vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM), and other similar approaches. LCM process simulation is a critical part of developing an LCM process approach. Flow simulation enables the development of the most robust approach to introducing resin into complex preforms. Furthermore, LCM simulation can be used in conjunction with flow front sensors to control the LCM process in real-time to account for preform or resin variability.
Rice, Brian P. (Dayton Univ. Research Inst. OH, United States)
Lee, C. William (Dayton Univ. Research Inst. OH, United States)
Curliss, David B. (Air Force Research Lab. Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, United States)
September 7, 2013
March 1, 2003
Publication: Low Cost Composite Structures and Cost Effective Application of Titanium Alloys in Military Platforms