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Dokumentenidentifikation EP1310586 13.12.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001310586
Titel 3D gewebte Vorformlinge mit minimalem Verzug
Anmelder Albany International Techniweave, Inc., Rochester, N.H., US
Erfinder Goering, Jonathan, York Maine 03909, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 60223222
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, IE, IT, LI, LU, MC, NL, PT, SE, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 05.07.2002
EP-Aktenzeichen 022547327
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 14.05.2003
EP date of grant 31.10.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 13.12.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse D03D 25/00(2006.01)A, F, I, 20051017, B, H, EP
IPC-Nebenklasse B29C 70/22(2006.01)A, L, I, 20051017, B, H, EP   

Beschreibung[en]
Field of the Invention

This invention relates to woven preform for a reinforced composite material which can be woven flat and folded into its final shape without producing undesirable distortion in the fibers.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The use of reinforced composite materials to produce structural components is now widespread, particularly in applications where their desirable characteristics are sought of being light in weight, strong, tough, thermally resistant, self-supporting and adaptable to being formed and shaped. Such components are used, for example, in aeronautical, aerospace, satellite, battery, recreational (as in racing boats and autos), and other applications.

Typically such components consist of reinforcement materials embedded in matrix materials. The reinforcement component may be made from materials such as glass, carbon, ceramic, aramid (e.g., "KEVLAR"), polyethylene, and/or other materials which exhibit desired physical, thermal, chemical and/or other properties, chief among which is great strength against stress failure. Through the use of such reinforcement materials, which ultimately become a constituent element of the completed component, the desired characteristics of the reinforcement materials, such as very high strength, are imparted to the completed composite component. The constituent reinforcement materials typically, may be woven, knitted or otherwise oriented into desired configurations and shapes for reinforcement preforms. Usually particular attention is paid to ensure the optimum utilization of the properties for which the constituent reinforcing materials have been selected Usually such reinforcement preforms are combined with matrix material to form desired finished components or to produce working stock for the ultimate production of finished components.

After the desired reinforcement preform has been constructed, matrix material may be introduced to and into the preform, so that typically the reinforcement preform becomes encased in the matrix material and matrix material fills the intersticial areas between the constituent elements of the reinforcement preform. The matrix material may be any of a wide variety of materials, such as epoxy, polyester, vinyl-ester, ceramic, carbon and/or other materials, which also exhibit desired physical, thermal, chemical and/or other properties. The materials chosen for use as the matrix may or may not be the same as that of the reinforcement preform and may or may not have comparable physical, chemical thermal or other properties. Typically, however, they will not be of the same materials or have comparable physical, chemical thermal or other properties, since a usual objective sought in using composites in the first place is to achieve a combination of characteristics in the finished product that is not attainable through the use of one constituent material alone. So combined, the reinforcement preform and the matrix material may then be cured and stabilized in the same operation by thermosetting or other known methods, and then subjected to other operations toward producing the desired component. It is significant to note at this point that after being so cured, the then solidified masses of the matrix material normally are very strongly adhered to the reinforcing material (e.g., the reinforcement preform). As a result, stress on the finished component, particularly via its matrix material acting as an adhesive between fibers, may be effectively transferred to and borne by the constituent material of the reinforcing reinforcement preform.

Frequently, it is desired to produce components in configurations that are other than such simple geometric shapes as (per se) plates, sheets, rectangular or square solids, etc. A way to do this is to combine such basic geometric shapes into the desired more complex forms. One such typical combination is made by joining reinforcement preforms made as described above at an angle (typically a right-angle) with respect to each other. Usual purposes for such angular arrangements of joined reinforcement preforms are to create a desired shape to form a reinforcement preform that includes one or more end walls or "T" intersections for example, or to strengthen the resulting combination of reinforcement preforms and the composite structure which it produces against deflection or failure upon it being exposed to exterior forces, such as pressure or tension. In any case, a related consideration is to make each juncture between the constituent components as strong as possible. Given the desired very high strength of the reinforcement preform constituents per se, weakness of the juncture becomes, effectively, a "weak link" in a structural "chain".

An example of an intersecting configuration is set forth in U.S. Patent No. 6,103,337 , the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference. This reference sets forth an effective means of joining together two reinforcing plates into a T form.

Various other proposals have been made in the past for making such junctures. It has been proposed to form and cure a panel element and an angled stiffening element separate from each other, with the latter having a single panel contact surface or being bifurcated at one end to form two divergent, co-planar panel contact surfaces. The two components are then joined by adhesively bonding the panel contact surface(s) of the stiffening element to a contact surface of the other component using thermosetting adhesive or other adhesive material. However, when tension is applied to the cured panel or the skin of the composite structure, loads at unacceptably low values resulted in "peel" forces which separate the stiffening element from the panel at their interface since the effective strength of the join is that of the matrix material and not of the adhesive.

The use of metal bolts or rivets at the interface of such components is unacceptable because such additions at least partially destroy and weaken the integrity of composite structures themselves, add weight, and introduce differences in the coefficient of thermal expansion as between such elements and the surrounding material.

Other approaches to solving this problem have been based on the concept of introducing high strength fibers across the joint area through the use of such methods as stitching one of the components to the other and relying upon the stitching thread to introduce such strengthening fibers into and across the juncture site. One such approach is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,331,495 and its method divisional counterpart, U.S. Pat. No. 4,256,790 . These patents disclose junctures having been made between a first and second composite panels made from adhesively bonded fiber plies. The first panel is bifurcated at one end to form two divergent, co-planar panel contact surfaces in the prior art manner, that have been joined to the second panel by stitches of uncured flexible composite thread through both panels. The panels and thread have then been "co-cured": i.e., cured simultaneously.

Another method to improve upon junction strength is set forth in U.S. Patent No. 5,429,853 .

While the prior art has sought to improve upon the structural integrity of the reinforced composite and has achieved success, particularly in the case of U.S. Patent No. 6,103,337 , there exists a desire to improve thereon or address the problem through an approach different from the use of adhesives or mechanical coupling. In this regard, one approach might be by creating a woven three dimensional ("3D") structure by specialized machines. However, the expense involved is considerable and rarely is it desirable to have a weaving machine directed to creating a simple structure.

Another approach set out in US 4,922,968 would be to weave a two dimensional ("2D") structure and fold it into shape. However, this typically results in part that distort when the preform is folded. The distortion occurs because the lengths of fiber as-woven are different than what they should be when the preform is folded. This causes dimples and ripples in areas where the as-woven fiber lengths are too short, and buckles in the areas where fiber lengths are too long. These distortions cause undesirable surface anomalies and reduce the strength and stiffness of the component. While this may be relieved by cutting and darting, such procedure is undesirable, since it is labor intensive or otherwise may compromise the integrity of the preform.

As aforesaid, 3D preforms which can be processed into fiber reinforced composite components are desirable because they provide increased strength relative to 2D laminated composites. These preforms are particularly useful in applications that require the composite to carry out-of-plane loads.

Accordingly, there is a need for a 3D preform which provides for an alternative approach and/or an improved method of creating 3D preforms and/or reinforced composite structures.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore a principal object of the invention to provide for a 3D preform which is of a design which is an alternative to and/or an improvement on existing preforms and/or reinforced composite structures heretofore available.

It is a further object of the invention to provide for such a 3D preform which may be folded into shape without distortion of the fibers comprising the preform.

A yet further object of the invention is to provide for a 3D preform which is particularly useful in forming T-shaped reinforce composites.

These and other objects and advantages are achieved by providing for a 3D woven preform that can be woven flat and then folded into its final shape prior to impregnation of resin without producing an undesirable distortion in the fibers. This is accomplished by adjusting the length of the fibers during weaving such that some are too short in some areas and too long in others. The fibers are then equalized when the preform is folded into shape providing for a smooth transition at the fold. This technique, while particularly suited for forming T-shaped woven preforms, may be utilized with various shapes. Also, while reference is made to woven preforms, its applicability to nonwovens, such as braided or stitched bonded, for example, will be apparent to one skilled in the art.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Thus by the present invention its objects and advantages will be realized, the description of which should be taken and in conjunction with the drawings wherein:

  • Figures 1A and 1B are respective side sectional views of a woven fabric as-woven and as-folded for use as a preform for a reinforced composite.
  • Figures 2A and 2B are respective side sectional views of a woven fabric as-woven and as-folded for use as a preform for a reinforced composite, incorporating the teaching of the present invention.
  • Figures 3A and 3B are respective side sectional views of a woven fabric as-folded illustrating a plurality of weft fibers at varying lengths, incorporating the teachings of the present invention.
  • Figures 4A and 4B are respective side sectional views of a woven fabric and as-folded having a different configuration, incorporating the teachings of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Turning now to the drawings in more detail, where like parts will be similarly numbered, in Figure 1A there is shown a woven fabric 10 comprising fill or weft fibers 12A, B and C (for illustration purposes) and warp fibers 14. As aforesaid, the fabrics may be made from a variety of materials with, however, carbon or carbon based fiber typically utilized in aeronautical applications.

What is shown in Figures 1A and 1B might be considered a conventional approach to create a woven preform which may be folded into shape. In this regard, a space 16 is provided in the woven fabric where the lower four rows of warp fibers 14 are absent from the weave. This is to allow the adjacent portions or legs 18 and 20 of the fabric 10 to be folded perpendicular to the fabric 10 as shown in Figure 1B.

The problem that results, however, is that, since the lengths of the weft fibers 12A, B and C are the same when woven flat and when folded, upon folding, this causes dimples or ripples in the areas 22 and 24 where the fibers 12B are too short and buckles in areas 26 and 28 where the weft fibers 12C are too long. The dimples or ripples in areas 22 and 24 occur since the weft fibers 12B which are too short upon folding cause the warp fibers to pull downward. In areas 26 and 28, since the weft fibers 12C are too long upon folding, they buckle outward. The foregoing results in undesirable surface anomalies and reduce the strength and stiffness of the component.

Turning now to Figures 2A and 2B, like parts are similarly numbered. As can be seen in Figure 2A, weft fiber 12B', is shown merely for illustration purposes. Due to the differences in the length of the fiber in the as-woven (shown in Figure 2A) versus the as-folded (shown in Figure 2B), the fiber lengths are woven too short in area 30 and too long in area 32. These differences in length are equalized when the preform is folded into shape so that the desired lengths are obtained. Figure 2B shows the typical fiber path for a preform which, when folded, has a "pi" cross section. Fiber 12B' is intentionally woven in a path that renders it too short in area 30 and too long in area 32. This causes a tensioning in the short portion which, when folded into the "pi" shape, causes a drawing in of the long portion so that the fiber 12B' length on both sides is equal and correct in the folded portion and avoids the distortions and buckles as heretofore discussed.

Of course Figures 2A and 2B just illustrate the basic concept showing the use of a single fiber 12B. There would be many fibers along the length of the preform which would have the same fiber path. Also, there would be additional weft fibers woven in a similar manner to provide for the different lengths necessary depending upon their position in the weave, as will be discussed.

Turning now to Figures 3A and 3B, there is shown, respectively, fabric 10 as-woven and as-folded for a pi-shaped preform. The preform shape is for illustration purposes only, since the present invention can be implemented with regard to many shapes as will be apparent to one skilled in the art.

As shown, the top portion 34 of the fabric 10 of the pi preform comprises layers of warp fibers 14 and weft or fill fibers generally designated 12'. The leg portions 36 and 38 of the pi preform similarly comprise layers of warp fibers 14 and weft fibers 12. The fabric 10, as would be in the prior examples, is woven in a desired weave pattern (e.g. satin, etc.) suitable for the purpose. Also, as in the immediate prior example, the invention is directed towards eliminating distortions and buckles which would normally occur when going from a flat woven to a folded situation.

As can be seen in Figure 3A, depending upon their position in the weave, this will determine the fiber path. For example, weft fibers 40 are of equal length on both sides of space 16, Fibers 42 are too long on the left hand side of Figure 3A and too short on the right hand side. Similarly, fibers 44 are too short on the left hand side and too long on the right hand side.

Because of this, when the leg portions 36 and 38 are folded down as shown in Figure 3B, the fiber lengths equalize in the same manner as discussed with regard to Figure 2A and 2B. Note that, the space between the leg portions 36 and 38 and the top portion 34 is exaggerated for illustration purposes.

Turning now to Figures 4A and 4B, there is shown a layout for making a T shaped preform 50. Figure 4A is the as-woven fabric with Figure 4B being the as-folded fabric.

The top portion of the T is made up from two leg portions 52 and 54. The bottom of the T comprises portion 56. As in the earlier examples, the preform is woven in a desired pattern suitable for the purpose with, however, the modification of the weft fibers 58 so as to implement the advantages of the present invention. In this regard, fiber 58 is too long on the top and too short on the bottom. Fiber 60 is too short on the top and too long on the bottom. Fibers 62 are of equal length both top and bottom.

As shown in Figure 4B, fibers 58 and 60 act as previously described due to the too long and too short fiber paths. They serve to interconnect portions 52 and 54. Fibers 62 serve to interconnect portions 52 and 54 with portions 56.

As in the case of all of the preforms of the present invention, once folded into shape, they can then be impregnated or coated with a resin to create the desired shaped composite structure.

Thus by the present invention its objects and advantages are realized and although preferred embodiments have been disclosed and described in detail herein, its scope should not be limited thereby rather its scope should be determined by that of the appended claims.


Anspruch[de]
Zweidimensionales Gewebe (10) zum Bilden einer Vorformlingstruktur, die eine dreidimensionale Form hat, wobei das Gewebe umfasst: einen ersten Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) des Gewebes (10) zum Bilden eines ersten Teils der Vorformlingstruktur; einen zweiten Vorformlingabschnitt (36, 38; 52, 54) des Gewebes (10), das in Bezug auf den ersten Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) faltbar ist, um einen zweiten Teil der Vorformlingstruktur zu bilden; mehrere Fasern (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60), die den ersten und den zweiten Vorformlingabschnitt miteinander verbinden; dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass das Gewebe einen Faserweg aufweist, der durch eine Faser (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60) definiert ist, die von dem ersten Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) zu dem zweiten Vorformlingabschnitt (36, 38; 52, 54) verläuft, wobei die Faser einen ersten Wegabschnitt (30) besitzt, in dem die Faser kürzer als der Weg gewebt ist, und einen zweiten Wegabschnitt (32) besitzt, in dem die Faser länger als der Weg gewebt ist, so dass beim Falten des zweiten Vorformlingabschnitts (36, 38; 52, 54) in Bezug auf den ersten Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) der Teil (30) der Faser, der kürzer gewebt ist, dazu veranlasst wird, jenen Teil (32) der Faser, der länger gewebt ist, längs des Faserwegs hineinzuziehen, um so das Falten zu kompensieren. Gewebe (10) nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Gewebe (10) Kett- (14) und Schussfasern (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60) enthält und die Verbindungsfasern Schussfasern (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60) sind. Gewebe (10) nach Anspruch 1 oder Anspruch 2, wobei das Gewebe (10) flach gewebt ist und der erste Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) sowie der zweite Vorformlingabschnitt (36, 38; 52, 54) relativ zueinander beweglich sind, um eine dreidimensionale Form zu ergeben. Gewebe (10) nach Anspruch 3, wobei der erste Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) und der zweite Vorformlingabschnitt (36, 38; 52, 54) beweglich sind, um eine dreidimensionale Form zu ergeben, die pi-förmig oder T-förmig ist. Gewebe (10) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Gewebe (10) die Form eines Vorformlings zum Verstärken eines Verbundwerkstoffs hat. Gewebe (10) nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Gewebe (10) mehrere gewebte Schichten in dem ersten Vorformlingabschnitt (34; 56) und in dem zweiten Vorformlingabschnitt (36, 38; 52, 54) aufweist und mehrere Faserwege zwischen verschiedenen Schichten der gewebten Schichten des ersten Vorformlingabschnitts (34; 56) und des zweiten Vorformlingabschnitts (36, 38; 52, 54) vorhanden sind.
Anspruch[en]
A two dimensional woven fabric (10) for forming a preform structure having a three dimensional shape, said fabric comprising: a first preform portion (34; 56) of the fabric (10) for forming a first part of the preform structure; a second preform portion (36, 38; 52, 54) of the fabric (10) foldable with respect to the first preform portion (34; 56) for forming a second part of the preform structure; a plurality of fibres (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60) interconnecting the first and second preform portions; characterised in that said fabric comprises a fibre path defined by a fibre (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60) passing from said first preform portion (34; 56) to said second preform portion (36, 38; 52, 54), said fibre having a first path portion (30) at which said fibre is woven shorter than the path and a second path portion (32) at which said fibre is woven longer than the path such that upon folding of the second preform portion (36, 38; 52, 54) with respect to the first preform portion (34; 56) the part (30) of the fibre which is woven shorter is caused to draw in that part (32) of the fibre woven longer along the fibre path so as to compensate for folding. A fabric (10) according to claim 1, wherein the fabric (10) includes warp (14) and weft fibres (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60) and the interconnecting fibres are weft fibres (12B'; 40, 42, 44; 58, 60). A fabric (10) according to claim 1 or claim 2, wherein the fabric (10) is woven flat and said first (34; 56) and second (36, 38; 52, 54) preform portions are movable with respect to each other to create a three dimensional shape. A fabric (10) according to claim 3, wherein said first (34; 56) and second (36, 38; 52, 54) preform portions are movable to create a three dimensional shape that is pi-shaped or T-shaped. A fabric (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein the fabric (10) is in the shape of a preform for reinforcing a composite material. A fabric (10) according to any one of the preceding claims, wherein said fabric (10) has a plurality of woven layers in the first (34; 56) and second (36, 38; 52, 54) preform portions and a plurality of fibre paths are between different layers of the woven layers of the first (34; 56) and second (36, 38; 52, 54) preform portions.
Anspruch[fr]
Tissu tissé bidimensionnel (10) pour former une structure préformée ayant une forme tridimensionnelle, ledit tissu comprenant : une première partie préformée (34 ; 56) du tissu (10) pour former une première partie de la structure préformée ; une seconde partie préformée (36, 38 ; 52, 54) du tissu (10) pouvant être pliée par rapport à la première partie préformée (34 ; 56) pour former une seconde partie de la structure préformée ; une pluralité de fibres (12B' ; 40, 42, 44 ; 58, 60) interconnectant les première et second parties préformées ; caractérisé en ce que ledit tissu comprend un chemin fibreux défini par une fibre (12B' ; 40, 42, 44 ; 58, 60) passant de ladite première partie préformée (34 ; 56) jusqu'à la seconde partie préformée (36, 38 ; 52, 54), ladite fibre ayant une partie de chemin fibreux (30) au niveau de laquelle ladite fibre est tissée plus courte que le chemin et une seconde partie de chemin (32) au niveau de laquelle la fibre est tissée plus longue que le chemin de sorte que lors du pliage de la seconde partie préformée (36, 38 ; 52, 54) par rapport à la première partie préformée (34 ; 56), la partie (30) de la fibre qui est tissée plus courte est forcée d'être tirée dans cette partie (32) de la fibre tissée plus longue le long du chemin fibreux afin de compenser pour le pliage. Tissu (10) selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le tissu (10) comprend des fibres de chaîne (14) et de trame (12B' ; 40, 42, 44 ; 58, 60) et les fibres d'interconnexion sont des fibres de trames (12B' ; 40, 42, 44 ; 58, 60). Tissu (10) selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, dans lequel le tissu (10) est tissé à plat et lesdites première (34 ; 56) et seconde (36, 38 ; 52, 54) parties préformées sont mobiles l'une par rapport à l'autre pour créer une forme tridimensionnelle. Tissu (10) selon la revendication 3, dans lequel lesdites première (34 ; 56) et seconde (36, 38 ; 52, 54) parties préformées sont mobiles pour créer une forme tridimensionnelle, en forme de pi ou en forme de T. Tissu (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel le tissu (10) a une forme préformée pour renforcer un matériau composite. Tissu (10) selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ledit tissu (10) a une pluralité de couches tissées dans les première (34 ; 56) et seconde (36, 38 ; 52, 54) parties préformées et une pluralité de chemins fibreux sont entre différentes couches de couches tissées des première (34 ; 56) et seconde (36, 38 ; 52, 54) parties préformées.






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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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