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Improved fibre wetting in composite laminate production by laser induced heat and/or vibration Disclosure Number: IPCOM000238283D
Publication Date: 2014-Aug-14
Document File: 1 page(s) / 17K

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In production of a fibre reinforced plastic ( FRP) the wettability of the fibres by the resin is improved by effecting a surface treatment on the fibres by a laser in order to induce localised heating and/or vibration. The improved wettability results in reduced voids in the cured material. The technique is particularly applicable to the production of large composite structures comprising thick laminates, such as wind turbine blades.

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Improved fibre wetting in composite laminate production by laser induced

heat and/or vibration

In the production of fibre reinforced plastics (FRP) material such as the composite laminates as used in components for wind turbine blades a laminate structure of fibres, typically glass fibres and/or carbon fibres the material is laid up in mould and resin introduced, followed by a heating cycle to effect a chemical cure.

It is proposed to improve the wetting of the fibres by the resin by subjecting the fibres before ingress of the resin to a laser-induced vibration and/or heating. The passage of the laser beam over the fibre materials effects a surface texturing. This allows better surface wettability of the fibres by the resin, enabling a better adhesion between fibre and resin, and the reduction of voids within the cured composite material. An additional effect is the removal of moisture which may be present on the fibres.

The effect can be further improved by carrying out the process in a protective atmosphere, such as inert nitrogen-rich atmosphere.

The laser can be arranged to pass over fibres once already laid up in the mould, for example via a moving head which progressively moves or scans over the mould surface. Alternatively, the fibre materials can be moved over the laser ( or vice versa) prior to their layup. Appropriate control of the laser beam is able to accommodate complex material geometries as are found say in wind turbine blade production.