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Method for the production of composite materials

composite assemblyfiber impregnationthermoplastic compositesUltrasoundwelding

Introduction

The invention uses high-power ultrasound to produce fiber-reinforced composite materials starting from dry reinforcing fibers and rigid thermoplastic polymer matrix. The ultrasounds generate the local fusion of the thermoplastic matrix, which impregnates the reinforcing fibers. Finally, the cooling in air under pressure allows the consolidation of the fiber layers.

Technical features

Method of impregnation and consolidation in situ of thermoplastic matrix composites by applying ultrasound and pressure by means of a sonotrode. The frictional heating caused by the ultrasounds is sufficient to melt the thermoplastic matrix at the deposition interface, allowing the impregnation of the fibers. The sonotrode pressure is optimized to achieve a high degree of impregnation and adhesion between the successive layers deposited for the fabrication of the composite component. The methods used up to now in the state of the art provide for the melting of the thermoplastic matrix by means of one or more non-finely adjustable (hot air or flames) or very expensive (laser) heat sources, which must be followed by complicated operations to eliminate the voids and remove residual air through usually bulky and expensive equipment for the application of vacuum and / or pressure.

Possible Applications

  • Technology for manufacturing machines and automatic systems for the production of composite materials;
  • Production of composites with structural and non-structural functions for automotive, nautical and aeronautical applications;
  • Production of pressure tanks and sport equipment.

Advantages

  • Matrix melting, reinforcement impregnation and consolidation in a single-phase;
  • Significant reduction of composite production times;
  • High performance of the composite;
  • Ease of automation;
  • Online process control.