The demand for an increasing diversification of the product spectrum associated with the current huge customization desire and subsequently the decreasing unit quantities of each production lot is gaining more and more importance within a great variety of industrial branches, e.g. automotive industry. Nevertheless, traditional product development and production processes (molding, extrusion) are already reaching their limits or fail to address these trends of a flexible and digitized production in view of a product variability up to lot size one. Thus, upcoming innovative production concepts like the additive manufacturing technology basically create new opportunities with regard to extensive potentials in product development (constructive optimization) and manufacturing (economic individualization), but mostly suffer from insufficient strength regarding structural components. Therefore, this contribution presents an innovative technological and procedural conception of a hybrid additive manufacturing process (fiber-reinforced sandwich structures based on selective laser sintering technology) to overcome these current structural weaknesses, and consequently support the design of complex lightweight components.
Lightweight construction became more and more important over the last decades in several applications, e.g. in the automotive or aircraft sector. This is the result of economic and ecological constraints on the one hand and increasing safety and comfort requirements on the other hand. In the field of lightweight design, different approaches are used due to specific requirements towards the technical systems. The use of endless carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) offers the largest weight saving potential of sometimes more than 50% compared to conventional metal-constructions. However, there are very limited industrial applications because of the cost-intensive manufacturing of the fibers and production technologies. Other disadvantages of pure CFRP-structures affect the quality control or the damage resistance. One approach to meet these challenges is hybrid materials. This means CFRP and sheet metal are combined on a material level. Therefore, new opportunities for innovative process routes are realizable. Hybrid lightweight design results in lower costs due to an optimized material utilization and the possibility to integrate the structures in already existing production processes of automobile manufacturers. In recent and current research, the advantages of two-layered hybrid materials have been pointed out, i.e. the possibility to realize structures with tailored mechanical properties or to divide the curing cycle of the epoxy resin into two steps. Current research work at the Chair for Automotive Lightweight Design (LiA) at the Paderborn University focusses on production processes for fiber-metal-laminates. The aim of this work is the development and qualification of a large-scale production process for high-performance fiber-metal-laminates (FML) for industrial applications in the automotive or aircraft sector. Therefore, the prepreg-press-technology is used, in which pre-impregnated carbon fibers and sheet metals are formed and cured in a closed, heated mold. The investigations focus e.g. on the realization of short process chains and cycle times, on the reduction of time-consuming manual process steps, and the reduction of material costs. This paper gives an overview over the considerable steps of the production process in the beginning. Afterwards experimental results are discussed. This part concentrates on the influence of different process parameters on the mechanical properties, the laminate quality and the identification of process limits. Concluding the advantages of this technology compared to conventional FML-production-processes and other lightweight design approaches are carried out.
While the polymeric foam cored sandwiches have been realized for many years, recently there is a growing and outstanding interest on the use of sandwiches consisting of aluminum foam core because of their some of the distinct mechanical properties such as high bending stiffness, high load carrying and energy absorption capacities. These properties make them very useful in the transportation industry (automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding industry), where the "lightweight design" philosophy and the safety of vehicles are very important aspects. Therefore, in this study, the sandwich panels with aluminum alloy foam core and various types and thicknesses of glass fiber reinforced polymer (GFRP) skins produced via Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) technique were obtained by using a commercial toughened epoxy based adhesive with two components. The aim of this contribution was the analysis of the bending response of sandwiches with various glass fiber reinforced polymer skins. The three point bending tests were performed on sandwich panels at different values of support span distance using a universal static testing machine in order to clarify the effects of the type and thickness of the GFRP skins in terms of peak load, energy efficiency and absorbed energy values. The GFRP skins were easily bonded to the aluminum alloy foam core under press machine with a very low pressure. The main results of the bending tests are: force-displacement curves, peak force values, absorbed energy, collapse mechanisms and the influence of the support span length and GFRP skins. The obtained results of the experimental investigation presented that the sandwich with the skin made of thicker S-Glass fabric failed at the highest load and absorbed the highest amount of energy compared to the other sandwich specimens. The increment of the support span distance made the decrease of the peak force and absorbed energy values for each type of panels. The common collapse mechanism of the panels was obtained as core shear failure which was not affected by the skin materials and the support span distance.
Lightweight design represents an important key to successful implementation of energy-saving, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly means of transport in the aerospace and automotive industry. In this context the use of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) which are distinguished by their outstanding mechanical properties at relatively low weight, promise significant improvements. Due to the reduction of the total mass, with the resulting lowered fuel or energy consumption and CO2 emissions during the operational phase, commercial aircraft will increasingly be made of CFRP. An auspicious technology for the efficient and economic production of high performance thermoset composites and hybrid structures for future lightweight applications is the combination of carbon fibre sheet moulding compound, tailored continuous carbon fibre reinforcements and metallic components in a one-shot pressing and curing process. This paper deals with a hybrid composite technology for aerospace industries, which was developed with the help of a special innovation and development system.