Magnetic clamping structures for the consolidation of composite laminates
Ziegenbein, Jordan Michael
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Vacuum bags in conjunction with autoclaves are currently employed to generate the consolidation pressures and temperatures required to manufacture aerospace level composites. As the scale of continuous fiber composite structures increases autoclaving becomes prohibitively expensive or impossible. The objective of this work is to develop flexible magnetic clamping structures to increase the consolidation pressure in conventional vacuum bagging of composite laminates, thereby obviating the need for an autoclave. A ferromagnetic rubber, which consists of rubber filled with iron, is being developed as a conformable and reusable vacuum bag that provides increased consolidation through attractive forces produced by electromagnets. Experiments and finite element modeling indicate that consolidation pressure in the range of 100 kPa can be generated by such a device with realistic power requirements. The effects of the magnetic clamping device process parameters on the consolidation pressure magnitude are modeled and characterized. In addition, a method for the efficient design of the magnetic clamping device is developed.
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