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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Laser Additive Manufacturing of Large Scale Polymer Matrix Composite Structures, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

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. More »

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