Self-Cure of CFRP for Aerospace Applications
The AMRC with Boeing, Wallis Way, Catcliffe (UK)
Partner(s) : Embraer RT Europe, Portugal
Self-Cure is joule heating of CFRP to cure temperature, significantly increasing the energy efficiency of the curing process, reducing cure time and increasing the quality of cured components.
Self-cure utilises the Joule effect to heat conductive carbon fibres in composite components up to their cure temperature. This was developed in the H2020 project MASTRO, from small lab scale panels, up to 2 metre long aerospace inspired components.
Using self-cure, it was possible to cure pre-preg and VARTM components using less than 1% of energy compared to oven-cured components. In the case of VARTM components, the void content was reduced compared to oven curing, whilst degree of cure was within 10% of an oven cured component.
Through accurate control of the power going into the component, the part temperature can also be more closely controlled, allowing for more aggressive cure cycles to be used, reducing overall cure time. This is enabled by having a low thermal mass compared to a conventional mould cure so the heating rate can be higher whilst avoiding an exothermic reaction through measurement and control.
- Low energy curing of CFRP
- Low capital expenditure
- Higher quality laminates
- Almost limitless size constraints
- Path to more multifunctional composites