Temperature analysis for the laser-assisted tape winding process of multi-layered composite pipes
Tubular structures of fiber-reinforced polymer composites are utilized in various applications such as risers in the oil and gas industry and hydrogen pressure vessels in the automotive sector. The laser-assisted tape winding process presents an automated and efficient solution for the manufacturing of these structures out of thermoplastic composites. However, in order to guarantee reliable and high-quality process results, the temperature distribution within the laminate governing the consolidation between successively wound layers has to be understood and taken into account for process design. In an experimental setup, thermocouples were embedded between the layers in multiple spots along the perimeter during the manufacturing of pipe samples with five layers wound on a pure thermoplastic liner. This enabled capturing the through-thickness temperature distribution at different transversal locations. In addition to the temperature data recorded by the thermocouples, a stationary infrared thermographic camera focused on the laser-heated area was mounted on the tape winding head. The temperature data points of both sources were contrasted to evaluate how the through-thickness temperature distribution reflects the temperature input on the surface. Furthermore, the experimentally determined temperature distribution was compared with the results of a numerical process model, drawing conclusions with regard to the modelling and control of the multi-variable process.