After several months of joint effort, Victrex and the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University have developed material and process specifications for Automated Fiber Placement systems (AFP) according to NCAMP protocol.
NCAMP, the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance, works with the FAA and industry partners to qualify material systems and populate a shared materials database that can be viewed publicly.
NIAR’s Advanced Technologies Laboratory for Aerospace Systems (ATLAS) has begun manufacturing test panels using VICTREX AE250 PAEK (polyaryletherketone), a thermoplastic material system reinforced with IM7 carbon fibers. This is a part of the Modeling for Affordable Sustainable Composites (MASC) program, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory. MASC focuses on developing a certification framework for enabling novel materials and advanced structural concepts used for automated manufacturing technologies.
This is the first time a program has conducted an in-depth investigation into the variability of multiple AFP machines on the composite allowables generated using industry-standard statistical procedures outlined in Composite Materials Handbook 17.
The project includes qualification of several thermoset, thermoplastic and dry-fiber AFP material systems from Hexcel, Solvay, Toray, and Victrex. All of the data and associated documents will be included in the NCAMP shared material database.
In order to mitigate risks due to machine variability, a series of pre-qualification manufacturing trials were conducted to develop machine programming protocols to manufacture equivalent panels across various AFP machines. These machine agnostic allowables can then be used by a wide variety of certification programs regardless of the type of AFP machines used for production. The AFP panel manufacturing kick-off was witnessed by NCAMP airworthiness representatives and personnel from the Air Force Research Laboratory and Victrex.
Victrex is an innovative world leader in high performance polymer solutions, focused on the strategic markets of Automotive, Aerospace, Energy, Electronics and Medical. Every day, millions of people rely on products or applications which contain our sustainable materials, from smartphones, aeroplanes and cars to oil & gas operations and medical devices. With over 40 years' experience, we are moving beyond the polymer into semi-finished and finished products which shape future performance for our customers and our markets, provide environmental and societal benefit for customers and drive value for our shareholders. Find out more at www.victrex.com