Airbus seeks lighter cabin support through 3D printed carbon fiber composites
Carbon fiber composite is a material composed of many carbon fiber tow arranged in a certain direction, and then mixed and connected with resin, ceramic, metal and other matrix. Compared with traditional metal materials, carbon fiber composites have the advantages of low density, high specific strength / specific stiffness, corrosion resistance, fatigue resistance, high temperature resistance, easy design, easy large-area integral molding and processing.
Today, the market of 3D printed carbon fiber composites has begun to make mass manufacturing. According to the market observation of 3D science Valley, arris composites cooperates with Airbus to carry out composite research to reduce cabin support.
3d printing sustainable development prospects
There are three trends in the development of 3D printing of composites. First, we will continue to see the industrialization of processes and systems, and the combination of hardware and software development will support mass production. Second, more sensing control of the system to achieve real-time process control - thermal, dimensional and optical sensing can improve process tolerance. Third, the new software used to improve the efficiency of 3D printing operation (for example, preprocessing workflow, job management, etc.) is more mature, so as to be more deeply used for the new design and Simulation of multi-material parts.
More sustainable development of air travel industry
Arris composites from Gali revealed a research project with Airbus, which focuses on the production of cabin supports. The project aims to significantly reduce aviation emissions by using innovative manufacturing methods and materials, including composites.
According to arris composites, replacing metal supports (220g) with topologically optimized and aligned continuous fiber composite components (50g) has reduced the weight by more than 75%. The weight reduction also translates into highly optimized fuel savings, because hundreds of such supports are part of a plane.
From a larger perspective, the significance of weight reduction is even greater. If 100 aircraft are manufactured a year, each aircraft is equipped with 500 supports, plus 50000 lighter supports, which will help to save 113 million metric tons of fuel in the whole aircraft life cycle, And reduce 357 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions (see the analysis report of the International Clean Transport Committee on commercial aviation).
According to Airbus, bionic design, topology optimization design and advanced composites are the future. Arris composites combines the advantages of 3D printing with the advantages of composites, and is helping the industry combine these designs and materials ideally to create the future of flight.
In addition, the additive molding technology of arris composites combines additive manufacturing (AM) and high-speed compression molding process, which will have a great impact on replacement parts and future aircraft structures, proving that it is possible to reduce carbon emissions. Airbus itself is committed to exploring such technological approaches to support the vision of more sustainable air travel for future generations.
Rising carbon fiber
According to the article "aviation composites have broad prospects and strong demand for carbon fiber composites", carbon fiber and its composites are increasingly widely used in the three fields of aerospace, industry and sports leisure products, and the market demand is increasing year by year. With the characteristics of light weight, high strength, high modulus, high and low temperature resistance and corrosion resistance, carbon fiber was first used in aerospace and national defense fields, such as large aircraft, military aircraft, UAVs, missiles, rockets and man-made satellites. Later, with the reduction of carbon fiber production cost, it was gradually used in industrial and sports fields. From the global market, the market demand for carbon fiber has been increasing. In 2020, the global demand for carbon fiber will again exceed 100000 tons after 2019, reaching 106900 tons.
Carbon fiber composites can be divided into five categories according to different substrates, Among them, the downstream of resin matrix composites (CFRP) is the most widely used, more than 80%. According to the different matrix, carbon fiber composites can be divided into resin matrix composites (CFRP), carbon / carbon composites (C / C), metal matrix composites (CFRM), ceramic matrix composites (CFRC) and rubber matrix composites (cfrr) (CFRP), due to its high specific modulus, specific strength, good fatigue resistance and excellent heat resistance, is widely used in the fields of space vehicle outer surface heat protection layer and rocket nozzle (phenolic resin base), aerospace structural materials (epoxy resin base), building reinforcement and so on.
In the field of aerospace, carbon fiber composites play an important role in structural lightweight. Compared with conventional materials, carbon fiber composites can reduce the weight of aircraft by 20% ~ 40%, overcome the shortcomings of metal materials prone to fatigue and corrosion, and enhance the durability of aircraft. Due to its performance advantages, the consumption proportion and range of carbon fiber composites in military aircraft and civil aircraft have gradually increased. From the manufacturing of tail level components in the 1970s to today, carbon fiber composites are widely used in the manufacturing of more core components such as wings, covers, front fuselage, middle fuselage and fairing.
Carbon fiber composites are mainly used in the load-bearing components of passenger aircraft, and the consumption is gradually increased with the upgrading of passenger aircraft. Since the 1980s, carbon fiber composites have been applied to the non load-bearing components of passenger aircraft. In the early B757 and B767, the proportion of carbon fiber composites is only 4%. With the continuous breakthrough of carbon fiber related technology, carbon fiber composites have been gradually applied to civil aircraft as secondary load-bearing components and main load-bearing components, and their quality proportion has gradually increased. By A380, The proportion of composite materials has reached 25%, which is specifically applied to the main load-bearing structural components of passenger aircraft, such as main wing, tail wing, body, central wing box, pressure diaphragm, etc., and the secondary load-bearing structural components, such as auxiliary wing, rudder and passenger aircraft interior materials. In the latest B787 and A350, the proportion of composite materials has reached more than 50%.
China's domestic passenger aircraft market has great potential. In the future, the batch delivery of C919 and cr929 will increase the demand for carbon fiber composites. China's domestic large passenger plane project is constantly advancing. According to the data disclosed on COMAC's official website, the C919 large passenger plane has completed the final assembly and offline on November 2, 2015, and successfully made its first flight on May 5, 2017, accumulating 28 customers and 815 orders. In 2021, China Eastern Airlines and COMAC officially signed a purchase contract, and the first batch of five aircraft were introduced, which is expected to be delivered this year. At the 2050 conference held in Yunqi Town, Hangzhou on April 27, 2019, COMAC disclosed the composite material proportion of several domestic airliners (by weight): the composite material content of ARJ-21 accounts for 2%, that of C919 accounts for 11.5%, and that of cr929 accounts for more than 50%. In general, with the batch delivery of domestic large aircraft, the market demand for carbon fiber composites is expected to increase, which will drive the increase in the demand for prepreg.
Cross border manufacturing innovation
Arris composites, a start-up enterprise engaged in the production level application of 3D printing of continuous fiber composites, obtained a round B financing of US $48.5 million (about RMB 340 million) in April 2020. Its purpose is to realize the production level application of 3D printing of the next generation of continuous fiber composites.
Arris composites through its proprietary additive molding ™ The mass production of high strength and lightweight composite parts is realized by combining additive manufacturing process with die process. This new process produces advanced carbon fiber materials at the same speed as plastic molding products.
Arris's process has attracted the attention of many industries. One reason is that arris's plasticized parts can integrate more parts than castings. On the one hand, it is the economic and lightweight advantages brought by carbon fiber, on the other hand, it is the structural integration advantages brought by 3D printing.
Arris's process starts with dry carbon fiber tow, which is pre impregnated into tape and tow through the impregnation process. The prepreg strip may be flat or may directly form the desired contour shape. Arris composites has the production capacity of prepreg belt. One development of this technology in the future is to send the belt (and tow) directly to the next production step. At present, the width of prepreg belt provided by the company is 1 to 24 inches (about 2.5-61 cm).
Next, the prepreg is shaped, cut and placed in the final position in the mold cavity by a proprietary robotic device. When the specified prepreg is ready, the mold will close and apply heat and pressure to the composite for consolidation and curing.
In this technology, the mechanism of placing materials is different from automatic tape placement and 3D printing in the general sense. Arris's technology is to shape the prepreg rather than consolidate and bond in situ. This method can improve the speed of preforming.
In this way, arris can print a continuous carbon beam and wind the whole part along the stress vector line of the part. The structure of the part is printed in the so-called "near net shape", and the fiber of the part runs through the whole part. In general, according to the understanding of 3D science Valley, arris's process can make parts more complex and has high resolution and shape control ability.
The technology of arris composites has been applied in many markets, making products lighter, stronger and smarter with revolutionary continuous carbon fiber reinforcement. On the one hand, arris composites' solutions meet the needs of the aerospace industry and automobile manufacturing for the manufacture of corrosion-resistant, high-strength and durable glass fiber and carbon fiber structural parts. On the other hand, the solution of arris composites releases the innovation potential of consumer goods and sporting goods brands, so that the consumer field can seek new business advantages by improving product performance and differentiation.