WEB Method for repairing composite partsRoom 2
Fibre-reinforced composites have outstanding mechanical properties with low density at the same time. This material group is therefore predestined for lightweight construction applications. Due to the constantly growing use in the automotive and aerospace industries, the number of damages to composite components is also increasing. Currently established repair processes are mainly found in the aerospace industry and are mostly used for cost-intensive structural components.
Depending on the repair strategy used, the mechanical properties of the component are lower than those of an undamaged component. The loss of mechanical properties is often due to insufficient adhesion between the repair patch and the component.
In addition, the currently established repair process is time-consuming and thus cost-intensive. Repairs are mainly carried out manually. The reliability of a safety-relevant component after repair thus depends on the experience and work quality of the worker.
In order to counter these deficits and minimize the risk of a faulty repair, the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH University (ITA) is developing a novel process for the automated production of repair patches for fibre-reinforced composites in a scientific-technological cooperation project with Sabanci University, Turkey. The project is funded by BMBF and TÜBITAK.
To increase the adhesiveness between the patch and the component, the repair patches are coated with nanomaterials. The nanomaterial improves the molecular bond between the reinforcing fibers and the matrix material, resulting in improved adhesion. In this way, the mechanical component properties after repair are increased compared to current repair strategies.
In parallel, the ITA is developing a process chain for the automated production of repair patches. The damage geometry is digitally transmitted as a scan to the production line. The patches are automatically cut from the scan, stacked in the desired layer structure and fixed in a transport box. The transport box is packed airtight and thus protects the patches from external mechanical and chemical influences. The aim is to deliver the patches to the repair site within 24 hours. The worker only has to place the patches on the damaged area and infuse them.