Laser Additive Manufacturing of Large Scale Polymer Matrix Composite Structures

Period of Performance: 06/17/2015 - 12/17/2015

$124K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Automated Dynamics Corp.
407 Front St
Schenectady, NY 12305
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A laser heating system (LHS) for the automated fiber placement (AFP) of thermoplastic composites (TPC) has recently been developed by Automated Dynamics to technology readiness level (TRL) three. This system represents the state of the art in out of autoclave, additive manufacturing of advanced polymer matrix composite (PMC) structures. It is particularly suited for manufacture of large scale structures as there is no oven or autoclave requirement while being compatible with a wide variety of thermoplastic polymers. Now that the prototype system has been developed, additional testing is required before it will be ready for production-level manufacturing. This proposal seeks to optimize and validate the Laser AFP process while advancing to TRL 4. This will be accomplished through coupon level mechanical testing to support predictable performance, development of additively manufactured tooling concepts to enable rapid development of structures with complex geometries, and a manufacturing demonstration of this effort embodied in a structure analogous to a pressure vessel.