Filament Winding

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Technology abstract

A Portuguese Composite Materials & Structures Unit of an R&D institute is experienced in composite materials processing and manufacturing. Its vast expertise in filament winding cover all product life stages: structural design, process & product development, prototyping & manufacturing, structural monitoring and testing. This technology is manly used to produce high-performance axisymmetric structures, such as pressure vessels, tubes or tanks. 

Technology Description

Filament winding is a manufacturing process for high-performance composite material parts and components, which yields products with high strength/weight ratio, high fibre volume fraction, and a large degree of customization. This manufacturing process is automated, and when combined with mass production leads to very cost effective composite material components.
This technology is manly used to produce high-performance axisymmetric structures, as such as composite over-wrapped pressure vessels, storage tanks, pipes, transmission drive shafts and many other. Additionally, this manufacturing process provides a vast possibilities of material selection, as it can use different combinations of reinforcement (glass fibre, carbon fibre, aramid fibre, etc.) and resin systems (thermoset or thermoplastic).
The Institution has the facilities and experience to model, develop, fabricate and validate all types of structural components suitable for filament winding production. Past experiences in filament winding included, for instance:
(1)   process development and prototype demonstration of a complex-shaped grid/lattice fuselage for small aircraft;
(2)   development and demonstration of small interface concepts that allow for wide integration of different materials and structures in single-shot manufacturing process;
(3)   process development, pre-series manufacturing and testing of low‑ and medium‑pressure pressure vessels for domestic and industrial uses;
(4)   development of novel full multiphysics process modelling;
(5)   development of in-house kinematics modelling and control software for the process;
(6)   process development and supply of space flight hardware;
(7)   development of prototypes with structural health monitoring systems;
Complementary capabilities include comprehensive materials characterization, enabling the chemorheological and thermomechanical validation of the process outputs. 

Innovations & Advantages

The technology offer is effectively comprehensive, since it covers all the stages of the product/process development, due to extensive expertise gathered in different types of activities (from very fundamental R&D, up to manufacturing and prototypes supply).
The facilities are able to deal with thermosetting- as well as thermoplastic-based materials. Furthermore, both local‑ and pre‑impregnation are possible. All typical process configurations are achievable (wet winding, dry winding, hybrid winding).
The addition of modelling capability (at multiphysics and kinematics level of the process, as well as standard structural analysis of the composite parts produced), allows for a short development period, avoiding empirical and trial-and-error time consuming phases.
The real experience with integrated process development, including embedment of features and sensors during the fabrication step, as well as the unique ability to include fastening and interface systems to structurally link the composite part to adjacent metallic ones, further complements these advantages and innovations. 

Current and Potential Domains of Application

• Aeronautics: lightweight primary and secondary aerostructures.
• Space: lightweight primary and secondary structures.
• Automotive: high-end automobile and motor racing; drive shafts.
• Civil engineering: structural engineering applications; retrofitting; FRP reinforced concrete structures; niche applications in offshore environments.
• Industry: gas containers; structural elements for machinery; low mass (inertia) equipments.