NETZSCH and USQ partner to advance automated composite manufacturing
A new research partnership between NETZSCH Analyzing and Testing (Selb, Germany) and the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ, Queensland, Australia) Centre for Future Materials (CFM) will focus on advancing the automated production of composite materials using dielectric sensor technology.
Dr Alexander Chaloupka, business field manager Process Analytics, NETZSCH Analyzing and Testing, says a newly developed sensor from NETZSCH makes the characterization possible of the critical material properties during the manufacturing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP), allowing for reduced cycle times and lower manufacturing costs.
“The new sensor is the first of its kind that is able to deal with carbon fibers, without the necessity to shield the sensor against the fibers,” Chaloupka says.
USQ’s Centre for Future Materials (CFM) research team led by Professor Peter Schubel, has key competence in novel composite processes, automated manufacturing, composite repair, civil composite structures, ballistic impact, nanomaterial, morphing material, thermal electrical material, geopolymer and high-performance concrete. The centre also has strong industrial links with local, national and international SME’s and large companies.
“USQ’s strategic partnership with NETZSCH will support the delivery of smarter composite manufacturing processes for our industry partners,” says Schubel.
As part of the research program, NETZSCH and USQ will implement dielectric sensor technology in the following industry lead projects:
- Pultrusion of construction materials (Wagners Composite Fibre Technologies, Queensland, Australia)
- Out-of-autoclave composite repair (Defence Science and Technology Group, Fairbairn, Canberra, Australia)
- Development of composite railway sleepers (Austrak, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)
- Filament winding of composite pressure tanks (Gilmour Space Technologies, Pimpama, Queensland, Australia)
Applications aren't as demanding as airframe composites, but requirements are still exacting — passenger safety is key.
There are numerous methods for fabricating composite components. Selection of a method for a particular part, therefore, will depend on the materials, the part design and end-use or application. Here's a guide to selection.
Yes, advanced forms are in development, but has the technology progressed enough to make the business case?