High Pressure Injection Resin Transfer Moulding (HP-IRTM)
The Composite Materials & Structures Unit of a non-profit R&D institute based in Porto (PT) produces high-performance fibre composites using a High Pressure Injection Resin Transfer Moulding (HP-IRTM) system for space, aeronautics and automotive applications which maintains complete impregnation of the textile and unidirectional (UD) fibre reinforcement structures. The institute looks for manufacturing/services agreement, technical cooperation or a licence agreement.
The Institution has been involved in national funded projects focused in space, aeronautics and automotive applications and has a dedicated team to develop Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) based composites for these sectors.
So far, this process has presented aerospace low void spars with high fibre percentage (62% in volume) and is currently manufacturing highly Thermally Conductive carbon fibre thin-walled boxes for space applications.
This equipment is composed by:
- An automated Injection Machine (30-50 bar mould pressure, Capability of heating resin up to 70ºC)
- A 200ton 1x1m plate Hydraulic Press
- Moulds with integrated heating and cooling systems.
Innovations & Advantages
The use of the Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) process in the aerospace industries is related to the possibility of building net-shape 3D-complex structures through the use of Preforms, greatly simplifying the moulding operations and reducing the time and cost of processing. A high pressure injection RTM enables the manufacture of low void high fibre volume components with a process to ensure regular quality in production.
Comparing RTM with traditional manufacturing processes applied in the aerospace industries, the RTM process is considered a suitable alternative to the prepreg approach permitting high finish quality and controlled fibre directions. RTM reduces voids compared to prepreg lay-up increasing component mechanical properties. In addition, component design considering the RTM process can compete with metal design when prepreg cannot be applied to the manufacture of a specific product. Prepreg lay-up requires a low initial investment, but it becomes more expensive (cost per product) than the other techniques due to recurring costs associated with direct labour and material waste. Compared with compression moulding (CM), RTM requests lower tooling costs because of the absence of a press system to compact the preform.
RTM meets both low cost/high volume requirements of the automotive industry and low number/high performances of the aerospace industry. In fact, RTM can guarantee the demanded performances for the aeronautical production: reduction of the mass, increase of the operating life, aimed design, reduction of the production times. Today an increasingly number of parts realized using RTM is observed due to the development of new resins and the preforming technology. In addition, such technique is suitable, with only small adjustments, for the realization of large, complex and thick-walled structures for use in infrastructures and military applications.
Current and Potential Domains of Application
Project and Manufacturing of Composite based structural components
Automotive industry part production
Aerospace and aeronautical industries part production
Infrastructures and military applications (large, complex, thick-walled structures)
Wind turbine blades
Bathroom fixtures, car body, helmet, etc.