Design and fabrication of an on-line consolidation facility for thermoplastic composites
An experimental apparatus that utilizes continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastics to wind rings and short tubes has been developed. Termed an on-line consolidation facility, preimpregnated tow is consolidated while the ring is being wound. The three most important parameters for the consolidation process are time, temperature, and pressure, and the facility is designed to establish their optimum combination. Therefore, each component of the apparatus provides maximum flexibility and variability in terms of these parameters. This article describes the basic concept of the process and then shows how the concept can be realized. The technique for heating the impregnated tow utilizes infrared radiation. However, additional heat sources are used to provide optimum temperature control at the nip point. Finally, several types of preimpregnated tow are used to produce samples that prove the feasibility of the process and establish acceptable ranges on the parameters.
fiber reinforced thermoplastics