EMOTION – Enhanced Mould for Thermoplastic Fuselage in and out of Autoclave Consolidation

The EMOTION project provides a tool that enables the production of high volume half-shells from thermoplastic fibre composite. The tool will be used in the CS2 joint project STUNNING.

Project Partners
ALPEX GmbH, Ostseestaal GmbH & Co KG, Topic Leader: NLR - Netherlands Aerospace Centre

Duration
01.09.2019 – 01.03.2022

Funding authority
EU HORIZON 2020 – Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking

Motivation
First of all, a tool with a diameter of approx. 4m and a length of 8m is developed and manufactured to produce a fuselage half shell. The intended process chain uses 2D placed laminates, gripped mechanically and placed in the tool, secured in position by means of a vacuum bag and consolidated in the autoclave under pressure and up to 400°C temperature. The high processing temperatures pose a challenge in terms of thermal expansion, resulting in distortion of the fibre architecture and the component as a whole, as well as in terms of energy consumption. The use of different alloys and a partially flexible substructure are to develop new approaches to industrial suitability. In a second step, technologies for consolidation outside of an autoclave on a tool part segment will be investigated. Energy savings, reduced use of auxiliary materials and thus cost savings are to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry. The development and provision of a tool with a diameter of approx. 4m and a length of 8m for the production of a fuselage lower shell is to prove the developed solution approaches.

Method
Ostseestaal, specialized in the forming of large metal components and molds, supplies the basic structure of the tool. The tool developer and constructor Alpex processes these into a ready-to-use tool. TUM supports the development and design process with material and process knowledge and preliminary tests. In the concept phase, different solutions are examined in the network and risks are evaluated and minimized by accompanying tests. The first project phase concludes with testing and handover of a fully scaled tool for the production of a fuselage shell segment. In the second part of the project, a novel tool concept will be developed to meet the requirements of a consolidation without autoclave. The process development based on direct consolidation and post-crystallization by means of a heatable tool is carried out at TUM. Due to the development risk, the implementation is carried out on a segment of the large tool.

Acknowledgement
The project is made possible by the support of the European Union within the framework of the HORIZON 2020, Clean Sky 2 program.