Carbon fiber-reinforced plastics (CFRPs) are a fast-growing market that have the potential to influence many industries, including the automotive industry. At present, these CFRPs are created through composite manufacturing, a process that is currently evaluated after the fact. This lack of process monitoring and control equipment is hindering the breakthrough of CFRPs into high-volume markets such as the automotive industry.
In their study, Alexander Chaloupka and colleagues discuss this challenge and offer a potential solution. By installing a reusable dielectric in-mold sensor, they were able to measure the real-time behavior of the polymers involved in CFRP manufacturing. The sensor installed was crafted to withstand any process influences, including temperature and pressure.
In addition to the physical sensor, the team also used a dielectric analyzer to interpret the data gathered by the sensor in real-time. The presence of this analyzer allowed the researchers to determine critical points in the manufacturing process, such as the minimum viscosity and glass-transition temperature, which are key in predicting the behavior of materials under processing conditions. Predicting their behaviors allows for complex manufacturing techniques and the scaling up of small samples to larger components.
This unique combination of a reusable in-mold sensor and real-time analysis would allow for in-mold quality assurance, as well as contributing to fully automated sensor-based composite manufacturing in the future. CFRPs could break into high-profile industries with the help of this combination, which would aid in controlling manufacturing processes and costs.
Customized Test Conditions
The multi-functional design of the DEA 288 Ionic allows for the application of a great variety of different test conditions such as heat, cold or UV light. This enables the user to easily and conveniently determine the best parameters for processing the material.
A complete dielectric analyzer consists of the DEA electronics and a sensor. Disposable sensors are connected via an adaptor box. Four models of DEA 288 Ionic are available: the regular laboratory version and the slim version with small footprint and two industrial versions.
NETZSCH presents new sensor for real-time process analytics and paves the way to mid- and high-volume production in the composites industry
Besides the use of sensor technologies for structural failure inspection, the knowledge about the in-mold behavior of polymers is of relevant importance for the mechanical performance of a component. Production processes for the manufacture of polymer based composites are subjected to fluctuations due to material changes, such as mixing ratio, climatic conditions and material aging.