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Thermoforming of glass fibre reinforced polypropylene

A study on the influence of different process parameters
: Schug, A.; Winkelbauer, J.; Hinterhölzl, R.; Drechsler, K.


Brabazon, D. ; American Institute of Physics -AIP-, New York:
20th International ESAFORM Conference on Material Forming 2017. Proceedings : 26th-28th April 2017, Dublin City University, Ireland
Melville/NY: AIP Publishing, 2017 (AIP Conference Proceedings 1896)
ISBN: 978-0-7354-1580-5
Art. 030010
International Conference on Material Forming (ESAFORM) <20, 2017, Dublin>
Fraunhofer IGCV ()

The aim of this study was to analyse the forming behaviour of glass fibre reinforced polypropylene and to identify the influence of several process parameters on the resulting part quality. For this purpose, a complex forming tool was designed, consisting of several areas with single and double curvature. The specimens were produced from unidirectional (UD) tape using the Fiberforge RELAY2000® automated tape laying machine and a subsequent consolidation step. They were then fixed in a support frame, pre-heated in an infrared oven, and formed in the forming tool, which was mounted into a hydraulic heating press. The investigated process parameters were the number and force of the springs in the support frame, the tool temperature and the forming pressure and speed. The layups of the specimens were [0/90/0/90/0̄]s and [0/45/90/-45/0̄]s. After the forming process, the parts were analysed in terms of their quality, with a special focus on wrinkles, undulations, gaps and surface roughness. In addition to optical analysis with a statistical evaluation of the results, 3D scans of the specimens at different steps of the forming process were made to gain an impression of the forming mechanisms and the development of failures. The ATOS system of GOM was used for these 3D scans. The results show that the undulations were influenced by the tool temperature and the spring force. By contrast, the surface quality was most strongly dependent on the forming pressure, which also influenced the size and the number of gaps. The forming speed affected the gaps as well. The tool temperature had the largest influence on the development of wrinkles. As expected, the quasi-isotropic layup showed distinctly more wrinkles and undulations, but it also presented a better surface quality than the orthotropic layup.