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Tape surface characterization and classification in automated tape placement processability: Modeling and numerical analysis

1 GEM, UMR CNRS-Centrale Nantes, 1 rue de la Noe, BP 92101, F-44321 Nantes cedex 3, France
2 ICI Institute, 1 rue de la Noe, BP 92101, F-44321 Nantes cedex 3, France
3 ESI Group & Bristol Composites Institute (ACCIS), Queen’s Building, University Walk, BristolBS8 1TR, UK
4 PIMM, ENSAM ParisTech, 151 Boulevard de l’Hˆopital, 75013 Paris, France

Topical Section: Theory, simulations and modeling of materials

Many composite forming processes are based on the consolidation of preimpregnated preforms of different types, e.g., sheets, tapes, .... Composite plies are put in contact using different technologies and consolidation is performed by supplying heat and pressure, the first to promote molecular diffusion at the plies interface and both (heat and pressure) to facilitate the intimate contact by squeezing surface asperities. Optimal processing requires an intimate contact as large as possible between the surfaces put in contact, for different reasons: (i) first, a perfect contact becomes compulsory to make possible molecular diffusion at the interface level in order to ensure bulk properties at interfaces; (ii) second, imperfect contact conditions result in micro and meso pores located at the interface, weakening it from the mechanical point of view, where macro defects (cracks, plies delamination, etc.) are susceptible of appearing. As just indicated, the main process parameters are the applied heat and pressure, as well as the process time (associated with the laying head velocity). These parameters should be adjusted to ensure optimal consolidation, avoiding imperfect bonding or thermal degradation. However, experiments evidence that the consolidation degree is strongly dependent on the surface characteristics (roughness). The same process parameters applied to different surfaces produce very different degrees of intimate contact. The present study aims at identifying the main surface descriptors able to describe the evolution of the degree of intimate contact during processing. That knowledge is crucial for online process control in order to maximize both productivity and part quality.
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