Welding of Thermoplastics
ÉireComposites is involved in serial production, prototyping and R&D in thermoplastic composite (TPC) components for the aerospace, transport, wind energy and marine industries, using both press-moulding and autoclave facilities.
As part of the Ybridio and Innova projects, ÉireComposites has performed research on welding of composites which offers the capacity for reduced cost and increased automation. The company can carry out induction and resistance welding and amorphous bonding of CP/PEEK, CF/PEKK and GF/PP. Welding of thermoplastics was evaluated for the Bombardier C-series composite wing.
Automated Tape Placement (ATP) has become a mainstream processing technique used to manufacture large thermoset carbon-fiber components. ÉireComposites has developed specialised heated tooling to allow the use of ATP for thermoplastic composites. ATP of thermoplastics involves the automated deposition of thermoplastic composite tape onto a tool surface while consolidating the tape in-situ via the application of heat and pressure. ÉireComposites is manufacturing a 1.5m diameter cylinder using ATP for the European Space Agency as part of the Future Launchers Preparatory Programme.
Sustainable Environmentally-friendly Advanced-Composite Zero-Emission Boats
The SEABOAT concept will tackle inherent issues in the recreational boat manufacturing industry, with a particular focus on addressing outdated, inefficient, costly and environmentally inferior hull-manufacturing processes that will not meet new legislation. SEABOAT will deliver significant positive impacts in terms of industry/EU competitiveness, scalable company growth in revenue & jobs, and a wide array of performance & environmental benefits.
This will be achieved by
- Commercialisation of the Composite Powder Epoxy Technology (C-PET) manufacturing process within the recreational boat manufacturing segment and by introducing a revolutionary E-Boat design incorporating the C-PET manufactured hull into the market,
- Enabling the partners ÉireCompositesand W1Da to achieve in excess of €45m combined cumulative revenue and 260 jobs from 2021-2023.
- Reduce the cost of boat hull manufacturing by 30%.
- Reduce the weight of boat hulls by 45%.
- Manufacture 8m boat hull using manufacturing technology that avoids the emission of harmful VOC’s.
- Demonstrate that boats can be powered from clean, renewable electricity instead of fuel-powered internal combustion engines thereby eliminating the use of hydrocarbon-based fuels, which will massively reduce the carbon footprint and pollution from boat operations.
Other Research & Development
ÉireComposites has been involved in a number of high-profile Research and Development projects including:
- Collaborative R&D on EU ALCAS project, led by Airbus UK, involving design manufacture of composite wing ribs and centre wing box components. We also develop and manufacture composite wingbox structures. CTL (Composites Testing Labratory) is involved in materials characterisation and in structural testing of composite wingbox components.
- Collaborative R&D on EU DINAMIT project, characterising new thermoplastic composites for aircraft components. Other industrial partners include CRC EADS (F), Airbus- F, Airbus-UK, Airbus-D, Dassault (F), Eurocopter (F).
- Coupon and First Part Qualification cut-up testing for numerous aerospace customers throughout Europe.
- R&D with European Space Agency and industrial partner to develop and characterise thermoplastic composites for space launcher (Ariane 6) and satellite applications.
The LIBRE project consists of a consortium of industry and academic research organisations. It aims to develop and demonstrate the feasibility of lignin based carbon fibre materials for application in the energy and automotive sectors.
Objectives of LIBRE:
- Development of new bio-based composite materials utilising lignin from the pulp and paper industry blended with biopolymers as a precursor.
- Reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions during the manufacturing process through the use of microwave and radio frequency (MW/RF) heating technologies.
- Surface functionalisation using non-aqueous processes to enhance performance in polymer composites
- Increased sustainability of composite materials.
- A competitive edge for end-user sectors such as transportation, renewable energy and construction.
ÉireComposites’ research and development has resulted in a number of publications including the following:
- Rotational Moulding of PEEK Polymer Liners with Carbon Fibre/PEEK Over Tape-Placement for Space Cryogenic Fuel Tanks
Murray, B. R., Doyle, A., Feerick, P. J., Semprimoschnig, C. O. A., Leen, S. B. & O Brádaigh, C. 13 Jul 2017 In: Materials and Design.
- Permeability of Carbon Fibre PEEK Composites for Cryogenic Storage Tanks of Future Space Launchers
Flanagan, M., Grogan, D. M., Goggins, J., Appel, S., Doyle, K., Leen, S. & O Brádaigh, C. 12 Jun 2017 In: Composites Part a-Applied science and manufacturing.
- Polymer Lined COPVS Formed using an Integrally Heated Rotational Moulding Tool and Laser Assisted Tape Placement
Murray, B. R., Leen, S., Semprimoschnig, C. O. A. & O Brádaigh, C. 30 May 2016 SAMPE Conference 2016.
- Helium Permeability of Polymer Materials as Liners for Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessels
Murray, B., Leen, S., Semprimoschnig, C. & O Brádaigh, C. 19 Apr 2016 In : Journal of Applied Polymer Science. 133, 29.
- Damage and permeability in tape-laid thermoplastic composite cryogenic tanks
Grogan, D. M., Ó Brádaigh, C. M., McGarry, J. P. & Leen, S. B. 7 Sep 2015 In: Composites part a-Applied science and manufacturing. 78, p. 390-402 13.
- Characterization of Cryogenically-Cycled Autoclaved and ATL CF/PEEK Laminates using 3-D X-Ray CT
Grogan, D. M., Leen, S. B. & O Brádaigh, C. 31 Jul 2015 20th International Conference on Composite Materials.
- A combined XFEM and cohesive zone model for composite laminate microcracking and permeability
Grogan, D. M., O Bradaigh, C. & Leen, S. B. 1 Feb 2015 In : Composite Structures. 120, p. 246-261 16.
- Use of carbon fibres for reinforcement of thin geopolymer cement sections
Twomey, B., Ó Brádaigh, C. M., Doyle, A., Feerick, P. J. & Stanton, K. T. 2014 In : Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part L: Journal of Materials: Design and Applications. 228, 3, p. 208-216 9.
- Feasibility of carbon fibre/peek composites for cryogenic fuel tank applications
Doyle, K., Doyle, A., O’Brádaigh, C. M. & Jaredson, D. 2012 European Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP. Vol. 691.
- O.De La Torre, S. Newell, M. H. Flanagan, J. Goggins. “Potential Applications for Image-based Systems in Structural Engineering.” In CERI Conference. 2016.
- Dolan, J., Doyle, A., Brádaigh, C.M.Ó. and Jaredson, D. “Out-of-Autoclave Manufacturing of Large Integrated Structures Using Thermoplastic Composite Materials.” In ECCM 15. 2012.
- M.Flanagan, J.Goggins, A. Doyle, B. Weafer, M. Ward, M.Bizieul, R.Canavan, C.M.O. Bradaigh, K. Doyle, Noel Harrison, “Out-of-Autoclave Manufacturing of a Stiffened Thermoplastic Carbon Fibre PEEK Panel. In ESAFORM 2017.