University of Delaware OEIP
University of Delaware

Aligned Short Fiber Preforms and Composite/ Method Of Manufacture

Technology #ud18-03

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Researchers
John Tierney
Dr. Tierney is a Senior Scientist at the Center for Composite Materials at University of Delaware and specializes in  Composites manufacturing (automated tow-placement, induction heating and autoclave processing), process modeling, (FEA and thermal analysis), consolidation, micromechanics, residual stress and warpage, crystallization kinetics, and strength development in polymer composites.
John W Gillespie
Dr. Gillespie’s research interests include processing-structure-property relationships, interphase and adhesion science, mechanical properties and durability and multi-scale modeling of composites.
External Link (www.me.udel.edu)
Dirk Heider
Prof. Heider’s researcher interests include advanced sensing methods and the use of artificial neural networks for online control of composites manufacturing. He develops new non-destructive evaluation devices for online and offline inspection of composite materials based on a better understanding of ultrasonic wave propagation in plate-like structures. His research group develops new materials and sensor systems to add functionality to composites beyond their structural performance.
External Link (www.ece.udel.edu)
Managed By
Yops Brad
Director, Technology Transfer Center 3028310147

APPLICATIONS:

This innovative aligned short fibrous material is applicable for the thin stiffness critical parts within the consumer electronics industry, space and military, medical and biological sciences as well as the aerospace sector. Lower cost fibers aligned with this process are applicable to larger volume industries such as automotive, sporting and the marine industry.

PROBLEMS ADDRESSED:

This novel technology offers a new source material consisting of aligned and stabilized short fibermaterial for the production of composite structures. The ultimate problem that arises with the fabrication of an aligned short fiber ply is developing processes that can align large quantities of individual short fibers to an efficient orientation at high volume and low manufacturing cost while stiff having competitive qualities. The process and product develop a high quality, lightweight ply that may be recycled and reintroduced. This development is purposed to replace any sheet metal with a cost effective and lightweight composite.

BENEFITS:

  • Better than continuous fiber 
  • Very malleable, optimal for complex products
  • Thin stiffness and durability
  • Recyclable, may be reintroduced and therefore cost effective
  • Lightweight
  • Cost competitive 
    TECHNOLOGY DESCRIPTION:

    Faculty at the University of Delaware have developed a highly aligned short fiber material and the method of manufacture of a highly aligned short fiber preform that may be further processed to produce composite products. This technology is produced by any type of short fiber or combination of fibers which are then highly aligned and stabilized using a vacuum procedure. This sheet may then be manipulated in order to create tows, tapes and sheets. This novel fiber alignment yields a highly durable, malleable yet thin material that is optimal for a variety of composite structures.

    STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: Prototypes have been developed and continue to be studied and improved on.