Automatic Computer Controlled Processing of Advanced Composites

Period of Performance: 01/01/1988 - 12/31/1988

$415K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Programmed Composites, Inc.
380 Cliffwood Pk
Brea, CA 92621
Principal Investigator

Abstract

AUTOMATIC, COMPUTER CONTROLLED, PROCESSING OF SEVERAL "DIFFICULT TO PROCESS" ADVANCED COMPOSITES WILL BE DEMONSTRATED WITH PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT. A TYPICAL PRIMARY AIRCRAFT STRUCTURE WILL BE MADE FROM THREE TYPES OF COMPOSITES; A POLYIMIDE, A HIGH TEMPERATURE THERMOPLASTIC AND A CARBON/CARBON PRECURSOR. A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF PARTS WILL BE MADE WITH COMPUTER CONTROL TO PROVE CONSISTENT AND ECONOMICAL PRODUCTION CAPABILITY. AN ECONOMIC ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF THIS "HANDS OFF" COMPUTER CONTROL WILL BE PERFORMED. THE "INTELLIGENT", FEEDBACK CONTROL SYSTEM WILL BE BASED UPON RESPONSES FROM DIEELECTRIC MONITORS WHICH DETECT CHANGES OCCURING THROUGH THE ENTIRE THICKNESS OF THE LAMINATE. IN PHASE I, EXCELLENT CORRELATION OF THE DIELECTRIC RESPONSE FROM A RES-CAP TM SYSTEM WITH SIGNIFICANT PROCESS EVENTS WAS OBTAINED. IN PHASE II, AN INTERACTIVE COMPUTER PROGRAM WILL BE DEVELOPED TO AUTOMATICALLY CONTROL AN AUTOCLAVE (OR OTHER PROCESS EQUIPMENT) SO THAT THE OPTIMUM PROCESS CYCLE IS ALWAYS PERFORMED IN SPITE OF BATCH TO BATCH MATERIAL VARIATION. THE PROGRAM WILL BE BASED UPON IDEAL PROCESS CURVES DEVELOPED FOR EACH COMPOSITE SYSTEM. A PRODUCTION AUTOCLAVE WILL BE MODIFIED FOR AUTOMATIC CONTROL AND THE SYSTEM WILL BE PROVED. COMMERCIAL EQUIPMENT AND COMPREHENSIVE OPERATING PROCEDURES WILL BE DEFINED AND DESCRIBED.