Holes, fissures, rejection rates – Quality management of carbon reinforced plastics
Fuel consumption and thus also the associated CO2 emissions can be reduced by decreasing vehicle weight. Carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) therefore represent an intelligent solution for lightweight constructions. In the process of manufacturing these materials, energy efficiency can be increased on a sustained basis if the products are manufactured with a lower rejection rate. Non-destructive testing methods play a central role in reducing the rejection rate, and help to accurately assess the quality of components.
The MAI Carbon Leading-Edge Cluster offers the unique opportunity to promote non-destructive testing (NDT) of fiber reinforced composites on a broad scale and to establish such testing in an industrial environment. While non-destructive testing has already been successfully used in the aerospace industry for years, NDT on fiber reinforced composites in automotive manufacturing and mechanical engineering is still in the early stages. At the same time, requirements vary widely within the industrial sectors and therefore require new approaches to testing: Quantities that the aerospace sector produces in a year may sometimes be produced on a daily basis in the automotive industry.
Figure: Pores in CFRP-pipes
The MAI ZFP project aims to investigate which testing methods are conducive to achieving the goal. Another objective is to replace slow, expensive and elaborate processes with fast, automated ones. For this purpose, measurements will be performed using a total of twelve non-destructive testing methods, and the results compared afterwards. To gain a deeper understanding of the testing methods, the calculations will be performed for the first time along the entire measurement chain, from the microscopic scale of the defects to the macroscopic scale of the signal detection. Such evaluations are intended to facilitate the selection of adequate methods for CRFP components. Both technological aspects and economic factors are taken into account in the assessment.
The overall goal is to ultimately reduce costs in component manufacturing in order to further increase the competitive edge of leading German companies.