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Powder epoxy tapeline for innovative advanced composite manufacturing solutions in the renewable sector


School of Engineering

Dr Colin Robert , , , Dr Fergus Cuthill Thursday, July 01, 2021 Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
Edinburgh United Kingdom Civil Engineering Electrical Engineering Manufacturing Engineering Mechanical Engineering Computer Science

About the Project

Recent worldwide climate disasters directly imputable to global warming highlighted the need for quick and drastic decarbonisation measures. The composite industry is at the forefront of this new challenge. There is a real need for new, cost effective materials to enable the exploitation of renewable energy sources (tidal energy, offshore floating wind, wave energy) to decarbonise the world and mitigate climate change.

In this context, a towpregging tapeline has been developed in the last 5 years within a major EU project (MARINCOMP), then further developed/automated in an on-going Fellowship linked with the CIMComp Hub (see photo). The tapeline is tailored for a novel powder epoxy system, which has major advantages compared to its liquid competitors: low minimal viscosity, low exotherm, ability to preshape different parts and co-cure them in a one-shot process, and stability at ambient temperature (no refrigeration requirement). These advantages result in lower manufacturing costs and quicker production of mechanically superior composite parts compared to standard liquid epoxy based composites.

Prepreg tape has a strategical importance in the advanced composite manufacturing supply chain and can be used by many manufacturing processes: Automated Fibre Placement, Filament Winding, Braiding & Additive Manufacturing/3D printing. These emerging techniques are all pushing towards more automation/robotic solutions within the frame of the 4.0 industrial revolution. The powder epoxy prepreg assets will enable us to develop/adapt new competitive manufacturing solutions for these processes.

The student will have extensive contacts with both academia and industry. He/She will have the opportunity to identify the renewable market needs (tidal and hydrogen) with major UK and European players in advanced composite manufacturing, from industry (ie. Coriolis Composites) or UK National Composite Manufacturing Centres (NCC, AMRC, LMC).

PhD aims & objectives:

-     Further develop tapeline automation and robustness to meet industrial standards.

-     Produce high quality powder epoxy prepreg tape and characterize powder prepreg based composite.

-     Link with Industry/National Composite Manufacturing Centres (NCC, AMRC, LMC) to identify the renewables market requirements (Hydrogen tanks, tidal turbine blades).

-     Develop an innovative advanced manufacturing solution (filament winding, braiding, additive manufacturing, AFP) for powder prepreg based composites applications for the renewable market.

Expectations:

We are expecting the student to assist with the hardware specifications (sensor inputs/ control outputs), as well as centralising the data into a built-in LabVIEW user interface.

 The student should be prolific on LabVIEW software and have an extensive knowledge of instrumentation and data logging systems (i.e. National Instrument).

 Knowledge in composites properties in general and advanced manufacturing techniques in particular would be appreciated.

To Apply: https://www.eng.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/research/phd/powder-epoxy-tapeline-innovative-advanced-composite-manufacturing


References

Webinars:
Colin Robert CIMComp webinar: Automated Powder Epoxy Carbon Fibre Tapeline:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=lphdl8bLIUA&t=63s&ab_channel=EPSRCCIMComp
Conchúr Ó Brádaigh global expert webinar series : Novel Powder Epoxy Composites for Thick-Section Structures:
https://cdmhub.org/resources/1936
Selected Publications:
A novel powder-epoxy towpregging line for wind and tidal turbine blades
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/347124355_A_novel_powder-epoxy_towpregging_line_for_wind_and_tidal_turbine_blades
Tidal turbine blade composites using basalt fibre reinforced powder epoxy
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339725966_TWENTY-SECOND_INTERNATIONAL_CONFERENCE_ON_COMPOSITE_MATERIALS_ICCM22_TIDAL_TURBINE_BLADE_COMPOSITES_USING_BASALT_FIBRE_REINFORCED_POWDER_EPOXY
Characterization of mode I interlaminar properties of novel composites for tidal turbine blades
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334163936_Characterization_of_mode_I_interlaminar_properties_of_novel_composites_for_tidal_turbine_blades
Powder Epoxy Based UD-CFRP Manufacturing Routes For Turbine Blade Application
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326625270_Powder_Epoxy_Based_UD-CFRP_Manufacturing_Routes_For_Turbine_Blade_Application
Tidal turbine blade composites - A review on the effects of hygrothermal aging on the properties of CFRP
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325231729_Tidal_turbine_blade_composites_-_A_review_on_the_effects_of_hygrothermal_aging_on_the_properties_of_CFRP
Mechanical properties and damage analyses of fatigue loaded CFRP for tidal turbine applications
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319536895_Mechanical_properties_and_damage_analyses_of_fatigue_loaded_CFRP_for_tidal_turbine_applications

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