AMT Seminar: AMT Seminar: Potential for Variable Stiffness Thermoplastics Composites: Manufacturing and Design Considerations

15 November 2019 15:00 - Location: Lecture Room E, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Kluyverweg 1, Delft. - By: Department of Communication | Add to my calendar

In the seminar series in aerospace manufacturing technologies, we are presenting invited speakers with selected topics in the field of novel manufacturing technologies. The upcoming seminar talk will be given by Professor Paul Weaver, Chair of Composite Materials and their Structures at the University of Limerick

Variable stiffness composites offer scope for improving performance and reducing mass (or cost) compared with conventional high performance straight fibre composites. Variable stiffness refers to the planar variation of fibre angle in a curvilinear form within each lamina. As well as providing means for favourable load redistribution that enhance buckling loads or reduce stress concentrations, variable stiffness composites offer scope for designing imperfection-insensitive shell structures. High performance carbon fibre PEEK (or more modern PAEK) composites offer huge potential for reducing manufacturing costs by potentially eliminating the need for batchwise processing (e.g. autoclave) whilst also improving toughness compared with thermosets. As such there is a realistic proposition of large thermoplastic composites manufacturing using AFP equipment without need for autoclaves that also have better performance, or are lighter than there thermoset counterparts. This seminar compares and contrasts the relative advantages and disadvantages of thermosetting and thermoplastic composites within the variable stiffness paradigm.

Paul Weaver is both Professor of Lightweight Structures at the University of Bristol and Bernal Chair of Composite Materials and their Structures at the University of Limerick. Since 2008, he has been Director of the Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced Composites, and was Director of the Vestas Preferred Partnership in Composites (2009-2015) and is currently lead academic of the Wind Blade Research Hub with ORE Catapult. Paul’s expertise lies in developing new design concepts and methods with lightweight composite structures and has also worked closely with Airbus, Leonardo Helicopters and Artemis Racing. He has been a consultant to NASA for 12 years and has been a principal or co-principal investigator of grants totalling >50MEuro. Since starting at Limerick in 2016, he has held a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Research Professorship (€6.4M) entitled Varicomp which brings together his interests in both shape changing and lightweight composite structures. He currently holds a Royal Society Wolfson Merit award and was previously an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow. His research team have won seven best paper awards in the last 6 years and Paul has successfully supervised 36 PhD students to completion and has published in excess of 280 refereed journal and conference articles. 

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