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Thermoplastic Composites for Aerospace Applications

Marco Barile; Leonardo Lecce; Michele Iannone; Silvio Pappadà; Pierluca Roberti

Composites world is in continuous evolution and there has been a progressive change in terms of manufacturing processes, passing from standard wet or prepreg manual layup to automated (preforming) technologies, with the objective to increase production rates and make cheaper manufacturing processes. This chapter deals with most recent advancements and applications of thermoplastic composites, focusing on the reasons why for aerospace sector, they are increasingly representing a more viable manufacturing solution for structural components. Starting from thermoplastic polymer structures and difference with respect to thermoset matrix based composites, the standard consolidation processes (autoclave/thermoforming) together with most promising automated and continuous out-of- autoclave manufacturing concepts and processes (Automated Fiber Placement/Automated Tape Laying, In Situ Consolidation, Continuous Compression Molding, Pultrusion), including assembling methods (Fusion/Welding), are illustrated. Furthermore, an overview on different recycling concepts related to thermoplastics and thermosets composites is provided. At last, an overview on the European thermoplastic development roadmap, supported by the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program (2014–2021) for the next generation of aircrafts, is illustrated

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