SEMINAR: Laser-assisted thermoplastic AFP...24-11-2020

peaker: Paul Weaver

Title:  Laser-assisted thermoplastic AFP: harmonious design and manufactures of high-performance composites

Date/Time: 25 November 2020/ 13:40 - 14:30

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Abstract:An out-of-autoclave blended, integrated-stiffener, variable stiffness, thermoplastic composite full-scale wingbox demonstrator was recently designed and built at the University of Limerick. To this end different techniques were combined: tow steering for manufacturing of variable stiffness skin, integrating and unitising the stiffeners to the wingbox, and blending structural stiffness from spar webs to spar skins without fibrecuts. Laser-assisted tape placement in combination with winding was used for manufacture. An overview of the design, manufacturing, quality assurance and testing is given. The wingbox was subsequently tested under representative aircraft loading.  During 2020, a second demonstrator involving multiple rib bays with local features has been designed. Manufacture and testing is planned for 2021. This project shows that modern thermoplastic composite materials combined with state-of- the-art manufacturing techniques offer significant performance and cost advantages in comparison with thermoset composites as primary structural parts for aerospace applications.

Bio:Paul Weaver has held the position of Bernal Chair of Composite Materials and their Structures at the University of Limerick since 2016 and has been Professor of Lightweight Structures at the University of Bristol since 2009. Paul’s expertise lies in developing new design concepts and methods with lightweight composite structures. He has worked closely with Airbus, Leonardo Helicopters, Vestas Wind Systems and has been a consultant to NASA for 12 years and has been a principal or co-principal investigator of grants totalling >50MEuro. He holds a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship (€6.4M) entitled Varicomp which brings together his interests in both shape changing and lightweight composite structures. He currently holds a Royal Society Wolfson Merit award and was previously an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow. He has been Director for the Centre of Doctoral Training in Composites since 2008 where he has overseen the graduation of >100 PhD students. His research team have won eight best paper awards in recent years and Paul has successfully supervised 36 PhD students to completion and has published in excess of 300 refereed journal and conference articles.