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Dokumentenidentifikation EP0928241 07.08.2003
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0928241
Titel VERBESSERUNGEN IN BEZUG AUF DRUCKÜBERTRAGER ZUR BENUTZUNG IN DER HERSTELLUNG VON VERBUNDWERKSTOFFKOMPONENTEN
Anmelder Advanced Composites Group Ltd., Heanor, Derbyshire, GB
Erfinder SLOMAN, Roger Mark, Estate, Derbyshire DE75 7SW, GB
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 69816021
Vertragsstaaten BE, CH, DE, ES, FR, GB, IT, LI, NL, SE
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 30.04.1998
EP-Aktenzeichen 989193586
WO-Anmeldetag 30.04.1998
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/GB98/01270
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0098050214
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 12.11.1998
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 14.07.1999
EP date of grant 02.07.2003
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 07.08.2003
IPC-Hauptklasse B29C 43/36
IPC-Nebenklasse B29C 33/40   B30B 15/06   

Beschreibung[en]

This invention relates to pressure transmitters for use in the production of composite components. The term "pressure transmitter" as used herein is intended to refer to cover members and ancillaries used to allow pressure to be applied to composite components during their moulding in a tool. The expression includes caul plates, pressure intensifiers and reusable rubber bags.

Such pressure transmitters are known e.g. from EP-A-0318415 and EP-A-0491646.

The use of caul plates, pressure intensifiers and rubber bags to produce smooth surfaces on composite components is a normal practice. Caul plates and/or pressure intensifiers can be made from an elastomeric material and enable appropriate pressure to be applied to the laminate in order to provide a relatively smooth surface on the bag side. In the case of pressure intensifiers, these are mainly used in female features on the non moulded side of the component. The caul plates consist of an elastomeric sheet which may be reinforced by a resin pre-impregnated fibre. The disadvantage of these caul plates made from fully formulated sheet rubber is that they require to be cured at high temperatures (greater than 100°C ). Also, some reinforced caul plates exhibit the disadvantage that the elastomeric material tends to separate from the fibre reinforcement, and others may give undesirable contamination problems.

As used herein, the expressions "partially cured", or "partially curable" when referring to a curable component, means cured or curable to the extent that the component can be removed from a mould, tool or former (which may or may not have high temperature capability (ie being capable of withstanding temperatures of greater than 100°C)), and then be handled and further processed (including a higher temperature further curing stage) without causing damage to the component. Further the expression "elastomeric material" includes the precursors of such materials, for example, fully formulated polymeric materials which after partial or full cure exhibit elastomeric properties. The polymeric material may be in sheet form.

According to a first aspect of the present invention there is provided a pressure transmitter for use in the production of composite components to allow pressure to be applied to the composite components during their moulding in a tool, characterised in that it comprises an elastomeric material which is at least partially curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.

According to a preferred embodiment , the pressure transmitter comprising an inner region of a reinforcement and an outer region of an elastomeric material, the elastomeric material being at least partially curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.

Preferably, the reinforcement comprises a resin material curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.

Preferably, the elastomeric material is partially or, at least partially, curable at 20 - 70°C, preferably 65°C. Conveniently the elastomeric material is partially cured during a period of 14 hours.

Desirably, the elastomeric material is further cured at an elevated temperature to reach a state of being substantially fully cured. Preferably the elevated temperature lies in the range 170 - 185°C. Preferably, the elastomeric material can be further cured at a temperature of substantially 175°C. Conveniently the elastomeric material is further cured for a period of at least 2 hours.

Preferably, the elastomeric material is a silicone elastomer, an acrylate or a fluoroelastomer.

According to a second aspect of this invention, there is provided a pressure transmitter for use in the production of composite components, the pressure transmitter comprising an inner region of a curable reinforcement and an outer region of elastomeric material, the curable reinforcement comprising resin pre-impregnated onto fibres, said resin being partially, or at least partially, curable at 100°C or less.

Preferably the elastomeric material cures or at least partially cures at a temperature greater than the cure or partial cure temperature of the curable reinforcement. This provides the advantage that the resin cures or partially cures before the elastomer, thereby reducing shrinkage of the elastomer.

Preferably, the elastomeric material is at least partially curable at a temperature in the range of 20 - 70°C more preferably at 65°C. Preferably, the elastomeric material is partially curable during a period of 14 hours.

Desirably the elastomeric material is further curable to reach a state of full cure at a temperature in the range of 170 - 185°C. Preferably, the elastomeric material can be further cured at a temperature of substantially 175°C. Conveniently the elastomeric material is further curable during a period of 2 hours.

The pressure transmitter may comprise an inner region of a curable prepreg reinforcement and an outer region of an elastomeric material, the curable prepreg reinforcement being in the form of resin pre-impregnated fibres defining a plurality of interstitial spaces, wherein the elastomeric material of the outer region substantially fills the interstitial spaces.

This has the advantage that the elastomer is keyed to the fibres, thereby mitigating any separation of the resin pre-impregnated fibres from the elastomer.

Preferably, the pressure transmitter is in the form of a caul plate, or a pressure intensifier for use in applying pressure to surfaces of a moulded component. The invention is particularly suitable for use with moulding techniques which involve the use of a bag applied to the moulding, for example by using vacuum bags.

According to another aspect of this invention, there is provided a method of curing a pressure transmitter, comprising providing a pressure transmitter as described above, and thereafter at least partially curing the pressure transmitter at a temperature not exceeding 100°C, while supported in a mould.

The pressure transmitter may be partially cured at a temperature in the range of 60 - 70°C (approximately 140 - 160°F), more preferably at 65°C (approximately 150°F). Conveniently, the pressure transmitter is partially cured during a period of at least substantially 14 hours. The pressure transmitter may be partially cured within 14 hours.

Desirably, after said partial curing, the pressure transmitter is further cured at a temperature in the range of 170 - 185°C (approximately 340 - 365°F). Preferably, the pressure transmitter is further cured at a temperature of substantially 175°C (approximately 350°F). The pressure transmitter may be so further cured during a period of at least substantially 2 hours. The pressure transmitter may be so further cured within 2 hours.

The elastomeric material may be a silicone elastomer.

By appropriate selection of the resin and elastomeric material, the low temperature curing of the pressure transmitter will result in the resin curing or, partially curing, before the elastomer has fully cured. This has the advantage of minimising shrinkage of the elastomer. Another advantage of the low temperature curing (ie less than 100°C) is that it can take place on a tool that can only withstand such low temperatures. The step of further curing the pressure transmitter provides the elastomeric material with the properties to enable the pressure transmitter to perform its function.

An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example only with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:-

  • Fig. 1 shows a schematic diagram of a pressure transmitter in the form of a caul plate in use;
  • Fig. 2 shows a schematic diagram of a pressure transmitter in the form of a pressure intensifier in use;
  • Fig. 3 shows a reinforcement not to scale with resin pre-impregnated fibres defining interstitial spaces; and
  • Fig. 4 is a view similar to Fig. 3 but showing an elastomer in the interstitial spaces.

Referring to Fig. 1, there is shown a prepreg lay-up 10 to be used in forming a composite component. The prepreg lay-up is arranged on a tool 12 with a caul plate 14 placed on the lay-up 10. The caul plate 14 comprises an inner region 16 of a fibre reinforcement and an outer region 18A,18B of an elastomeric material 18. In the formation of the composite component, a vacuum bag or sheet 19 is arranged over the lay-up 10 and the caul plate 14. Air is removed from the vacuum bag 19 whereby air pressure provides the necessary pressure for moulding and heat is also applied, in the standard way.

The fibre reinforcement 16 comprises woven fibres 20 defining a net like structure having interstitial spaces 22 (see Fig. 3). The interstitial spaces 22 are, as shown in Fig. 4, filled with the elastomeric material 18 defining outer regions 18A,18B. The reinforcement 16 may be formed of one or a plurality of layers of the woven fibres 20.

The caul plate 14 is first processed to make it usable as described in the preceding two paragraphs by partially curing the caul plate 14 at a temperature of less than substantially 65°C at least 14 hours during a first curing stage the caul plate being supported on a mould which need not be capable of withstanding high temperatures (eg above 100°C) during the process. This first curing stage partially or fully cures the resin and partially cures the elastomeric material 18. This minimises the shrinkage of the elastomeric material 18. After the first curing stage, the caul plate 14 is then further cured during a second curing stage for at least 2 hours at a temperature of substantially 175°C to fully cure the resin and the elastomeric material such that the caul plate 14 develops the appropriate properties normally expected of a caul plate 14 (see below). This second stage does not necessarily require the use of a mould to support the caul plate.

Thus, the resin and elastomeric material are selected to be capable of partial curing at low temperature ie less than 100°C.

As can be seen at Fig. 1 a wrinkle 24 in the prepreg lay-up 10 can be formed where adjacent plies overlap and at other places. The use of a caul plate 14 assists in smoothing out or preventing the formation of such wrinkles 24.

The caul plate may have a microporous membrane 118 arranged on its side adjacent the lay-up 10 to facilitate removal of gases emitted by the resin during the curing process. Alternatively a solid inpermeable sheet for example of HALAR could be substituted for the microporous membrane. The sheet may be in the form of a film bonded to the caul plate.

Referring to Fig. 2, there is shown a tool 12 at a corner region 22 thereof where the prepreg lay-up 10 defines a concave region 24. A pressure intensifier 26 is arranged in the concave region 24 to ensure that appropriate pressure is applied thereto.

The pressure intensifier 26 is formed in a similar manner to the caul plate described above using similar cure and postcure temperatures.

In a modification the reinforcement may be omitted from the caul plate or from the pressure intensifier. In the modification, the caul plate and pressure intensifier are manufactured in the manner described above, that is they are partially cured at a temperature not exceeding 100°C on a mould which need not be capable of withstanding temperatures of greater than 100°C so that it can be manufactured, for example, from wood, plaster or other suitable easily worked material but after the initial cure stage the caul plate and pressure intensifier is removed from the mould for further curing to a fully or approaching fully cured state at an elevated temperature for example 175°C. As before the initial cure time can be 14 hours and the postcure time 2 hours.

In a further modification of the present invention the pressure transmitter may take the form of a vacuum bag, that is a bag formed, in the simplest example, from two sheets of elastomeric material, sealed or sealable around the periphery of the sheets to form a bag which, after fitting with normal backing connections etc. be used in a vacuum bag moulding process. In this modification, as before, the vacuum bag is formed from two sheets of fully formulated polymeric material which are made into the bag when the material is in an uncured state (examples of suitable material being set out below). The bag can be cured during the initial cure stage which is carried out, for example for 14 hours, at temperatures no greater than 100°C and typically 65°C, thereafter, as appropriate, the bag can be fully cured bearing, for example, a further 2 hour cure cycle at an elevated temperature for example 175°C. Standard vacuum bag fitments for example vacuum terminals, openable seals etc. can be fitted before the initial cure or if convenient before the postcure, that is after the initial cure.

Examples of the properties of suitable elastomeric materials 18 are set out below.

Example 1

Physical Properties Form soft and conformable with the slightest degree of tack. Color royal blue Thickness 0.060", (60mils), other thickness will be available. Width up to 50", calendered rolls.
Cured Properties Durometer 70 (nominal) Tensile Strength 1000+(psi) Elongation at Break 350+(%) Modulus at 100% 505 (psi) Modulus at 300% 940 (psi) Tear Strength 160+(ppi) Compression Set 30 (%) (22 hours at 350°F) Adhesion excellent (cocured to LTM prepreg) Temperature Resistance 450°F to 500°F (when fully cured)

Example 2

Physical Properties Form soft and conformable with the slightest degree of tack. Color clear Thickness 0.085", (85mils), other thickness will be available. Width up to 50", calendered rolls.
Cured Properties Durometer 40 (nominal) Tensile Strength 1510+(psi) Elongation at Break 925+(%) Modulus at 100% 300 (psi) Modulus at 300% 300 (psi) Tear Strength 150+(ppi) Compression Set TBD Temperature Resistance 450°F to 500°F (when fully cured)

Various modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention, as defined in the appended claims.


Anspruch[de]
  1. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung zur Verwendung bei der Herstellung von Verbundkomponenten, um das Anlegen von Druck an die Verbundkomponenten während ihrer Formgebung in einem Werkzeug zu ermöglichen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass sie ein Elastomermaterial aufweist, das bei einer Temperatur unterhalb von 100°C zumindest teilweise aushärtbar ist.
  2. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Druckübertragungsvorrichtung einen inneren Bereich aus einer Verstärkung (16) und einen äußeren Bereich aus einem Elastomermaterial (18) aufweist, wobei das Elastomermaterial (18) bei einer Temperatur von unterhalb 100°C zumindest teilweise aushärtbar ist.
  3. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Verstärkung ein Harzmaterial (16) aufweist, das bei einer Temperatur von unterhalb 100°C aushärtbar ist.
  4. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung zur Verwendung bei der Herstellung von Verbundkomponenten, um das Anlegen von Druck an die Verbundkomponenten während ihrer Formgebung in einem Werkzeug zu ermöglichen, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Druckübertragungsvorrichtung einen inneren Bereich aus einer aushärtbaren Verstärkung (16) und einen äußeren Bereich aus Elastomermaterial (18) aufweist, wobei die aushärtbare Verstärkung (16) auf Fasern pre-imprägniertes Harz aufweist, das bei einer Temperatur von unterhalb 100°C zumindest teilweise aushärtbar ist.
  5. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 4, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Elastomermaterial (18) bei einer Temperatur unterhalb der Temperatur des Aushärtens oder teilweisen Aushärtens der aushärtbaren Verstärkung (16) aushärtet oder zumindest teilweise aushärtet.
  6. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Elastomermaterial (18) bei 20 bis 70°C, vorzugsweise bei etwa 65°C, zumindest teilweise aushärtbar ist.
  7. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 6, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Elastomermaterial weiter aushärtbar ist, um einen Zustand im wesentlichen vollständiger Aushärtung bei einer Temperatur von mindestens 170°C, vorzugsweise mindestens 175°C, zu erreichen.
  8. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 6, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Elastomermaterial (18) während einer Zeitdauer von 14 Stunden teilweise aushärtbar ist.
  9. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach Anspruch 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Elastormermaterial (18) für eine Zeitdauer von mindestens 2 Stunden weiter aushärtbar ist.
  10. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Elastomermaterial (18) ein Silikon-Elastomer, ein Acrylat oder ein Fluoroelastomer ist.
  11. Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach einem der Ansprüche 3 bis 10, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die aushärtbare Verstärkung (16) eine Prepreg-Verstärkung ist, die eine Vielzahl von Zwischenräumen (22) bestimmt, wobei das Elastomermaterial (18) des äußeren Bereichs im wesentlichen die Zwischenräume (22) ausfüllt.
  12. Verfahren zum Aushärten einer Druckübertragungsvorrichtung, gekennzeichnet durch das Bereitstellen einer Druckübertragungsvorrichtung nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche und anschließendes mindestens teilweises Aushärten der Druckübertragungsvorrichtung bei einer Temperatur von nicht mehr als 100°C, während sie auf einer Form abgestützt ist.
Anspruch[en]
  1. A pressure transmitter for use in the production of composite components to allow pressure to be applied to the composite components during their moulding in a tool characterised in that it comprises an elastomeric material which is at least partially curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.
  2. A pressure transmitter according to claim 1, characterised in that the pressure transmitter comprises an inner region of a reinforcement (16) and an outer region of an elastomeric material (18), the elastomeric material (18) being at least partially, curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.
  3. A pressure transmitter as claimed in claim 2, characterised in that the reinforcement comprises material (16) curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.
  4. A pressure transmitter for use in the production of composite component to allow pressure to be applied to the composite components during their moulding in a tool, characterised in that the pressure transmitter comprising an inner region of a curable reinforcement (16) and an outer region of elastomeric material (18), the curable reinforcement (16) comprising resin pre-impregnated onto fibres, said resin being at least partially curable at a temperature not exceeding 100°C.
  5. A pressure transmitter as claimed in claim 4, characterised in that the elastomeric material (18) cures or at least partially cures at a temperature greater than the cure or partial cure temperature of the curable reinforcement (16).
  6. A pressure transmitter as claimed in any preceding claim, characterised in that the elastomeric material (18) is at least partially curable at 20 - 70°C, preferably substantially 65°C.
  7. A pressure transmitter as claimed in claim 6, characterised in that the elastomeric material is further curable to reach a state of being substantially fully cured at a temperature of at least 170°C, preferably at least 175°C.
  8. A pressure transmitter as claimed in claim 6, characterised in that the elastomeric material (18) is partially curable during a period of 14 hours.
  9. A pressure transmitter as claimed in claim 7, characterised in that the elastomeric material (18) is further curable for a period of at least 2 hours.
  10. A pressure transmitter as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, characterised in that the elastomeric material (18) is a silicone elastomer, an acrylate or a fluoroelastomer.
  11. A pressure transmitter as claimed in any one of claims 3 to 10, characterised in that the curable reinforcement (16) is a prepreg reinforcement defining a plurality of interstitial spaces (22), wherein the elastomeric material (18) of the outer region substantially fills the interstitial spaces (22).
  12. A method of curing a pressure transmitter characterised in that it comprises providing a pressure transmitter as claimed in any one of the preceding claims, and thereafter at least partially curing the pressure transmitter at a temperature not exceeding 100°C while supported on a mould.
Anspruch[fr]
  1. Transducteur de pression destiné à être utilisé dans la production de composants composites pour permettre à la pression d'être appliquée aux composants composites lors de leur moulage dans un outil, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend un matériau élastomère réticulable au moins en partie à une température ne dépassant pas 100° C.
  2. Transducteur de pression selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que le transducteur de pression comprend une région interne constituée d'un élément de renfort (16) et une région externe constituée d'un matériau élastomère (18), le matériau élastomère (18) étant réticulable au moins en partie à une température ne dépassant pas 100° C.
  3. Transducteur de pression selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que l'élément de renfort comprend un matériau de type résine (16) réticulable à une température ne dépassant pas 100° C.
  4. Transducteur de pression destiné à être utilisé dans la production de composants composites pour permettre à la pression d'être appliquée aux composants composites au cours de leur moulage dans un outil, caractérisé en ce que le transducteur de pression comprend une région interne constituée d'un élément de renfort réticulable (16) et une région externe constituée d'un matériau élastomère (18), l'élément de renfort réticulable (16) comprenant une résine pré-imprégnée sur des fibres, ladite résine étant réticulable au moins en partie à une température ne dépassant pas 100° C.
  5. Transducteur de pression selon la revendication 4, caractérisé en ce que le matériau élastomère (18) réticule ou réticule au moins en partie à une température supérieure à la température de réticulation ou de réticulation partielle de l'élément de renfort réticulable (16).
  6. Transducteur de pression selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que la matière élastomère (18) est réticulable au moins en partie à une température comprise entre 20 et 70°, de préférence sensiblement à 65° C.
  7. Transducteur de pression selon la revendication 6, caractérisé en ce que la réticulation du matériau élastomère est poursuivie de manière à atteindre un état de réticulation sensiblement intégrale à une température d'au moins 170° C, de préférence au moins 175° C.
  8. Transducteur de pression selon la revendication 6, caractérisé en ce que le matériau élastomère (18) est partiellement réticulable pendant un laps de temps de 14 heures.
  9. Transducteur de pression selon la revendication 7, caractérisé en ce que la réticulation du matériau élastomère (18) est poursuivie pendant un laps de temps d'au moins 2 heures.
  10. Transducteur de pression selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, caractérisé en ce que le matériau élastomère (18) est un élastomère à la silicone, un acrylate ou un élastomère fluoré.
  11. Transducteur de pression selon l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 10, caractérisé en ce que l'élément de renfort réticulable (16) est un élément de renfort pré-imprégné (18) définissant une pluralité d'espaces intersticiels (22), dans lequel le matériau élastomère (18) de la région externe remplit sensiblement les espaces intersticiels (22).
  12. Procédé de durcissement d'un transducteur de pression, caractérisé en ce qu'il comprend les étapes de fourniture d'un transducteur de pression selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, puis de réticulation au moins partielle du transducteur de pression à une température ne dépassant pas 100° C lorsqu'il est supporté par un moule.






IPC
A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
B Arbeitsverfahren; Transportieren
C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
D Textilien; Papier
E Bauwesen; Erdbohren; Bergbau
F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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