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A look back at one of the activities of the IRT’s composites division: thermoplastic composites.

These organic matrix composites, 50% lighter than steel, with exceptional intrinsic properties such as good damage tolerance, more resistant to temperature, abrasion due to corrosive products and high pressures and with good recyclability have been seducing industry for several years.

These materials can be applied to numerous forming processes with shorter or more economical cycles such as injection molding, compression and forming, out-of-autoclave consolidation, etc. and therefore allow the production of complex parts of all sizes.
Because of their strong potential, IRT Saint Exupéry is involved in various aspects surrounding these thermoplastic composite materials based in particular on its impregnation line developed within the framework of the COMPINNOVTP project. IRT Thermoplastic Composites Team works (led by Jean-Marie Des and under the authority of Emilie Herny, Technological Director), through its own research projects involving all French thermoplastic composites supply chain, on the relations between microstructure of the semi-product, out-of-autoclave consolidation and resulting final properties of the laminate.

KEY PARTNERSHIPS

In order to strengthen the collaboration between the different research centers, collaborative work is also carried out in parallel with projects with:

The FIDAMC through successive exchanges of researchers in order to cross fields expertise to obtain a better understanding of the interconnections between the different stages of the composite manufacturing process (impregnation and consolidation).

The University of Delaware in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Composite Materials Center: These activities were led by Sinan Boztepe, post-doctoral fellow at IRT Saint Exupéry, in collaboration with Pavel Šimáček, Researcher Scientist at the University of Delaware, and Professor Suresh G. Advani, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and co-director of the Composite Materials Center, aim to identify and model the physical mechanisms involved in the oven consolidation of thermoplastic prepregs. This work has notably allowed the implementation of relevant experimental techniques to identify the relationships between prepreg architecture (initial porosity) and properties of the consolidated material.

IRT ORGANIC COMPOSITES DAY

On October 8th, the ”IRT composite day” took place, gathering more than 60 participants from a group of 20 companies around thematic workshops.

This day, led by our research teams and our academic partners, was intended to cross the needs / expectations of industry, as well as the upstream R&T needs, with the current and future research areas of the IRT Saint Exupéry in the context of developing future R&T projects fitting to expected industrial needs.

ZOOM ON THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE PROJECTS AT IRT SAINT EXUPERY

COMPINNOVTP2 (2020/10 – 2022/06)

The project aims to establish the relationship between the microstructure of a high-performance thermoplastic prepreg and its processability on an industrial scale. This in order to be able to define/specify at best the architecture of the materials according to the draping / consolidation process defined by industrial.

 

  • Project leader: Grégory ERB
  • Budget: €1.4M
  • Members: Airbus, Aviacomp, Hutchinson

METEOR (2017/09 – 2021/06)

In order to meet the needs of industry, the METEOR project – coMpEtitive ThErmOplastic pRepreg – develops competitive thermoplastic semi-finished products, compatible with non-autoclave processes and 100% from a French supply chain.

 

  • Project leader: Patricia Sandré
  • Budget: €6.5M
  • Members: Airbus, Arkema, Clément Ader Institute, Chomarat, CNRT Matériaux, Hexcel Reinforcement, Hutchinson, Porcher, SDTEch

SOFUSIN (2016/06 – 2018/09)

Development and modeling of high-performance thermoplastic materials induction welding process for aero structural applications. An automated induction welding platform for thermoplastic composites has been developed in the framework of this project.

 

  • Project leader: Grégory ERB
  • Budget: €1.6M
  • Members: Airbus, Arkema, Daher, Hutchinson, LTEN, Stelia

COMPINOVTP (2014 – 2018)

The target of the project was to develop and evaluate high-performance, multifunctional thermoplastic materials for aerospace applications.

It thus prepared the progressive emergence of a new generation of high-performance thermoplastic materials with integrated functionalities.

 

  • Project leader: Damien Coudeyre
  • Budget: €7.5M
  • Members: Airbus, Ariane Group, CNRS (IMRCP), ISAE-SUPAERO, Paul Sabatier University (CIRIMAT-Phypol, Clément Ader Institute), Thales Alenia Space


IMPREGNATION LINE VIDEO

AUTOMATED THERMOPLASTIC COMPOSITE INDUCTION WELDING VIDEO