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Dokumentenidentifikation EP2176123 28.04.2011
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0002176123
Titel ZUSAMMENGESETZTE LAMINATSTRUKTUR
Anmelder Airbus Operations Ltd., Bristol, GB
Erfinder KAYE, Allan, Bristol Bristol BS99 7AR, GB;
LI, Dong, Bristol Bristol BS99 7AR, GB
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
DE-Aktenzeichen 602008005600
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, MT, NL, NO, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 04.08.2008
EP-Aktenzeichen 087886289
WO-Anmeldetag 04.08.2008
PCT-Aktenzeichen PCT/GB2008/050657
WO-Veröffentlichungsnummer 2009019511
WO-Veröffentlichungsdatum 12.02.2009
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 21.04.2010
EP date of grant 16.03.2011
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 28.04.2011
IPC-Hauptklasse B64C 1/00  (2006.01)  A,  F,  I,  20100323,  B,  H,  EP
IPC-Nebenklasse B64C 3/00  (2006.01)  A,  L,  I,  20100323,  B,  H,  EP
B64C 3/20  (2006.01)  A,  L,  I,  20100323,  B,  H,  EP
B64C 1/06  (2006.01)  A,  L,  I,  20100323,  B,  H,  EP

Beschreibung[en]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a composite laminate structure, and a method for indicating impact damage in such a structure. In particular, although not exclusively, the structure may form part of an aircraft component.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Many aircraft components are made from composite laminate materials. For example, a stringer in an aircraft wing, stiffeners and spar structures, may all be in the form of composite laminate structures. While the structures may be strong when loaded in the way in which they have been designed to be loaded, they may be vulnerable to impact damage, which may result in delamination occurring. Delamination may result in the structure weakening and eventually failing. Particularly vulnerable are the edges of composite laminate structures (at which the layers of the composite laminate structure terminate) where an impact occurs, particularly if the impact is end-on (i.e. when the impact is in a direction perpendicular to the edge and parallel to the plane of the laminates that make up the structure).

If an impact has a significant component of force in the end-on direction the impact may be capable of damaging the bonding between the laminate's layers comprising the composite laminate structure and causing, or adding to the effect of, delamination. Such impacts may be as a result of workmen dropping tools whilst working on the structure, during maintenance for example when the end surfaces of the composite laminate structures are exposed in a way they are usually not. A further way in which the composite laminate structures may be damaged is as a result of wear over time, such wear for example resulting from workmen sitting, or standing, on the structure or contacting the structure directly or by means of tools, or other equipment. It is for example common for a workman to rest tools or toolboxes on the end surface of such structures while working on the aircraft. The edge of a composite laminate structure is typically exposed, at least during maintenance, to direct wear and direct impacts as described above. Similar impact threat exists during the manufacturing and assembly of the composite parts.

When designing an aircraft component, factors that affect the strength and other mechanical properties of composite laminate structures of the aircraft, such as those factors described above, are taken into account. Thus, factors such as those described above typically mean that the composite laminate structures need to be provided with extra strength, resulting in an increase in size and weight.

One known approach to strengthening the edge of a laminar composite is to apply an edge protector - for example as described in US2006/0234007. Another solution is to form the composite laminate with a roll-form edge - that is, an edge formed by a folded layer. However a problem with these conventional methods is that they may not provide sufficient visual evidence of an impact. Such visual evidence may be a requirement of the structure.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A first aspect of the invention provides a structure comprising a composite laminate having an edge; and an impact indicator which is carried by the edge and comprises a resin which fractures upon impact.

A second aspect of the invention provides a method of indicating impact damage in such a structure, the method comprising fracturing the impact indicator.

The fracture provides permanent visible evidence of impact damage, for instance by cracking or by one or more pieces breaking off from the impact indicator. As well as providing such visible evidence of impact damage, the impact indicator may also provide an element of impact protection by absorbing part of the impact energy.

Typically the impact indicator comprises a resin which is more brittle and less strong than the material forming the composite laminate. For instance the material forming the composite laminate may be reinforced, and the resin forming the impact indicator may be un-reinforced.

Typically the composite laminate comprises a thermosetting material such as an epoxy resin. The material forming the impact indicator may be formed from the same thermosetting resin, or from a resin which cures at a similar or lower temperature.

The impact indicator may be limited in length, or may comprises a strip which runs along at least the majority of the length of the edge.

In certain embodiments of the invention, a plurality of layers of the composite laminate terminate at the edge. Alternatively the edge may be a roll-form edge formed by a folded layer.

The impact indicator may be adhered to the edge by co-curing, co-bonding, or secondary bonding. In the case where the impact indicator is adhered to the edge by co-curing, the impact indicator may be formed integrally with the composite laminate (for instance by forming the composite laminate with a resin-rich edge).

In one example the impact indicator is applied to the edge by extruding resin from a nozzle, and then co-bonding the extruded material to the edge by curing it.

In another example the impact indicator is applied by providing a bead of thermosetting resin in a female mould; inserting the edge of the composite laminate into the female mould; and heating the bead and the composite laminate so that the composite laminate cures and the bead is co-cured to the edge.

In another example the composite laminate comprises a reinforcement phase and a matrix resin phase, and the impact indicator is formed by inserting the edge of the composite laminate into a female mould; providing a gap between the edge and the female mould; and heating the composite laminate so that the matrix resin phase flows into the gap and forms the impact indicator.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which:

  • Figure 1 is a perspective view of a method of applying an impact indicator to a stringer;
  • Figure 2 is an end view of the stringer carrying the impact indicator;
  • Figures 3-5 show three steps in the formation of the stringer;
  • Figure 6 is an end view of an alternative stringer carrying an impact indicator;
  • Figure 7 is an end view of a further alternative stringer carrying an impact indicator;
  • Figure 8 is an end view of a roll-form stringer carrying an impact indicator;
  • Figure 9 is an end view of a co-curing manufacturing process; and
  • Figure 10 is an end view of a manufacturing process in which the impact indicator is formed integrally with the stringer.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENT(S)

A stringer 1 shown in Figure 1 comprises a blade 2 and a pair of flanges 3,4. The stringer is formed by the process illustrated in Figures 3-5. In a first step, a planar charge 5a is placed on a male forming tool 6. The charge 5 comprises a laminate structure formed from a stack of sheets, each sheet comprising a plurality of unidirectional carbon fibres impregnated by a thermosetting epoxy resin. These sheets are conventionally known as "prepregs". Individual prepreg sheets are shown schematically in Figure 3 but not in the other figures for purposes of clarity.

The charge 5a is then deformed over the mould tool as shown in Figure 4 to form a U-shaped part 5b. The U-shaped part 5b is then cut into two L-shaped parts 5c,5d as shown in Figure 5; and the parts 5c,5d are placed back-to-back as shown in Figure 2. Once the L-shaped parts 5c,5d have been placed back-to-back, they are co-cured to harden the stringer and join the parts together.

The direction of the length of the stringer 1 is defined as 0 degrees, and the direction of the height of the stringer is defined as 90 degrees. The lay-up of the stringer is represented by a notation representing the percentage of the fibres in the stringer that are oriented in the directions 0 degree/± 45 degrees/90 degrees. A typical stringer lay-up is 60/30/10. Therefore, 60 percent of the fibres are oriented in the 0 degree direction, 30 percent in the ± 45 degree directions and 10 percent in the 90 degree direction.

The stringer includes an exposed top edge 8 which is machined and sealed (after curing) by the process shown in Figure 1.

A shaped machine cutter 10 moves along the edge 8, removing material to form a groove 11 shown in Figure 2. A cleaning device 12 removes the material generated by the machining process. A bead 13 is applied to the groove by extruding liquid epoxy resin from a nozzle 14. A finishing tool 15 has a slot 16 with a desired shape, and the tool 15 is moved along the edge behind the nozzle 14 to remove excess resin from the bead 13.

Note that these processes are performed inline so that the bead 13 is applied at the same time that the edge 8 is machined.

The resin is then cured to co-bond the bead to the edge 8, forming an impact indicator 9 shown in Figure 2 seated in the groove 11.

Note that the machining step may be omitted so that the top edge of the stringer is flat as shown at 8a in Figure 6. In an alternative embodiment shown in Figure 7, the plies of prepreg may slide with respect to each other during the deformation step shown in Figure 4, so that the L-shaped parts have angled edges 8b at which the sheets of prepreg terminate. Thus the groove is formed in this case without requiring a separate machining step.

In the cases of Figures 6 and 7 the stringer and impact indicators 9a,9b may be co-cured instead of being cured at different times.

A roll-form stringer is shown in Figure 8. This is formed from a single stack of prepreg plies which is folded to form a roll-form edge 8c. An impact indicator 9c is attached to the roll-form edge 8c by extruding a resin bead and co-bonding it to the roll-form edge 8c.

In an alternative manufacturing process shown in Figure 9, the impact indicator is applied to the edge of the stringer by providing a bead 20 of uncured epoxy resin in a female mould 21; inserting the stringer blade 2 into the female mould; and heating the mould assembly so that the stringer and bead 20 become bonded to each other by co-curing.

In a further alternative manufacturing process shown in Figure 10 the impact indicator is formed integrally with the stringer by inserting the stringer blade into the female mould 21; providing a gap 22 between the edge 8 and the female mould; and heating the stringer so that the epoxy resin matrix in the blade flows into the gap 22 to form the impact indicator.

The impact indicators described above are formed from a material which fractures upon impact, resulting in one or more cracks and/or one or more pieces breaking off. EA9394 epoxy resin has been found to provide the necessary fracture properties, but other materials may be envisaged. For instance the resin may cure at room temperature so that the bead does not have to be heated in order to cure it.

Note that the impact indicators are formed from a resin which is more brittle and less strong than the material forming the composite laminate. For example un-reinforced EA9394 resin is more brittle and less strong than the carbon-fibre reinforced prepregs which form the composite laminate. Also, the impact indicators each have a curved convex outer surface, and a thickness which varies across the width of the edge. This has a number of benefits:

  • it makes them more prone to fracture than a flat strip;
  • it makes it more likely that one or more pieces will break off after fracture; and
  • it makes any post-fracture cracks or voids more easily visible from the side.

Although the invention has been described above with reference to one or more preferred embodiments, it will be appreciated that various changes or modifications may be made without departing from the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims.


Anspruch[de]
Struktur, enthaltend ein Verbundstofflaminat, das eine Kante (8) aufweist, und einen Prallindikator (9), der von der Kante getragen wird, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Prallindikator ein Harz enthält, das bei Prall bricht. Struktur nach Anspruch 1, bei der das Harz ein wärmehärtendes Harz enthält, das bei einer Temperatur unter 100 °C und vorzugsweise unter 50 °C aushärtet. Struktur nach Anspruch 1 oder 2, bei der die Laminatstruktur ein wärmehärtendes Material enthält, das bei einer ersten Temperatur aushärtet, und das Harz ein wärmehärtendes Material enthält, das bei einer zweiten Temperatur aushärtet, die geringer ist als die erste Temperatur. Struktur nach einem der vorherigen Ansprüche, bei der sich der Prallindikator in einer Hohlkehle (11) in der Kante befindet. Struktur nach einem der vorherigen Ansprüche, bei der der Prallindikator eine Dicke aufweist, die über die Breite der Kante schwankt. Struktur nach Anspruch 5, bei der die äußere Oberfläche des Prallindikators konvex ist. Struktur nach einem der vorherigen Ansprüche, bei der eine Vielzahl von Schichten des Verbundstofflaminats an der Kante (8) enden. Struktur nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, bei der die Kante eine Walzenformkante (8c) ist, die durch eine gefaltete Schicht der Laminatstruktur gebildet wird. Flugzeugkomponente (1), enthaltend eine Struktur nach einem der vorherigen Ansprüche. Verfahren zum Anzeigen eines Prallschadens in der Struktur nach einem der vorherigen Ansprüche, wobei das Verfahren das Brechen des Prallindikators (9) enthält. Verfahren nach Anspruch 10, das ferner das Abbrechen eines oder mehrere Teile vom Prallindikator enthält. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Struktur nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei das Verfahren das Auftragen des Prallindikators auf die Kante durch Strangpressen von Harz aus einer Düse (14) enthält. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Struktur nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei das Verfahren das Zusammenaushärten des Prallindikators an der Kante enthält. Verfahren nach Anspruch 13, bei dem der Prallindikator durch Bereitstellen eines Wulstes (20) von wärmehärtendem Material in einer Negativform (21), Einsetzen der Kante des Verbundstofflaminats in die Negativform und Erwärmen des Wulstes und des Verbundstofflaminats aufgebracht wird, so dass das Verbundstofflaminat aushärtet und der Wulst an die Kante zusammen ausgehärtet wird. Verfahren zur Herstellung einer Verbundstofflaminatstruktur nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, wobei jede Schicht des Verbundstofflaminats eine Verstärkungsphase und eine Matrixharzphase enthält, wobei das Verfahren das Ausbilden des Prallindikators durch Einsetzen der Kante des Verbundstofflaminats in eine Negativform (21), Bereitstellen einer Lücke (22) zwischen der Kante und der Negativform und Erwärmen des Verbundstofflaminats enthält, so dass die Matrixharzphase in die Lücke fließt und den Prallindikator bildet.
Anspruch[en]
A structure comprising a composite laminate having an edge (8); and an impact indicator (9) which is carried by the edge, characterised in that the impact indicator comprises a resin which fractures upon impact. The structure of claim 1 wherein the resin comprises a thermosetting resin which cures at a temperature lower than 100°C, and preferably lower than 50°C. The structure of claim 1 or claim 2 wherein the laminate structure comprises a thermosetting material which cures at a first temperature; and the resin comprises a thermosetting material which cures at a second temperature which is lower than the first temperature. The structure of any preceding claim wherein the impact indicator is seated in a groove (11) in the edge. The structure of any preceding claim wherein the impact indicator has a thickness which varies across the width of the edge. The structure of claim 5 wherein the outer surface of the impact indicator is convex. The structure of any preceding claim wherein a plurality of layers of the composite laminate terminate at the edge (8). The structure of any of claims 1 to 6, wherein the edge is a roll-form edge (8c) formed by a folded layer of the laminate structure. An aircraft component (1) comprising a structure according to any preceding claim. A method of indicating impact damage in the structure of any preceding claim, the method comprising fracturing the impact indicator (9). The method of claim 10 further comprising breaking off one or more pieces from the impact indicator. A method of manufacturing a structure according to any of claims 1 to 8, the method comprising applying the impact indicator to the edge by extruding resin from a nozzle (14). A method of manufacturing a structure according to any of claims 1 to 8, the method comprising co-curing the impact indicator to the edge. The method of claim 13 wherein the impact indicator is applied by providing a bead (20) of thermosetting resin in a female mould (21); inserting the edge of the composite laminate into the female mould; and heating the bead and the composite laminate so that the composite laminate cures and the bead is co-cured to the edge. A method of manufacturing a composite laminate structure according to any of claims 1 to 8, wherein each layer of the composite laminate comprises a reinforcement phase and a matrix resin phase, the method comprising forming the impact indicator by inserting the edge of the composite laminate into a female mould (21); providing a gap (22) between the edge and the female mould; and heating the composite laminate so that the matrix resin phase flows into the gap and forms the impact indicator.
Anspruch[fr]
Structure comprenant un stratifié composite présentant un bord (8) et un indicateur d'impact (9) qui est supporté par le bord, caractérisée en ce que l'indicateur d'impact est constitué d'une résine qui se casse lors d'un impact. Structure selon la revendication 1, dans laquelle la résine est constituée dune résine thermodurcissable qui durcit à une température inférieure à 100 °C, et de préférence, inférieure à 50 °C. Structure selon la revendication 1 ou la revendication 2, dans laquelle la structure stratifiée est constituée d'une matière thermodurcissable qui durcit à une première température, et la résine est constituée d'une matière thermodurcissable qui durcit à une seconde température qui est inférieure à la première température. Structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle l'indicateur d'impact repose dans une gorge (11) dans le bord. Structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle l'indicateur d'impact a une épaisseur qui varie sur la largeur du bord. Structure selon la revendication 5, dans laquelle la surface externe de l'indicateur d'impact est convexe. Structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle une pluralité de couches du stratifié composite se terminent au niveau du bord (8). Structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans laquelle le bord est un bord profilé (8c) formé par une couche pliée de la structure stratifiée. Composant d'avion (1) comprenant une structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes. Procédé d'indication d'un endommagement par impact dans la structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, le procédé consistant à casser l'indicateur d'impact (9). Procédé selon la revendication 10, comprenant en outre la rupture d'une ou plusieurs pièces à partir de l'indicateur d'impact. Procédé de fabrication d'une structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, le procédé consistant à appliquer l'indicateur d'impact sur le bord par extrusion de la résine à partir d'un embout (14). Procédé de fabrication d'une structure selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, le procédé consistant à codurcir l'indicateur d'impact sur le bord. Procédé selon la revendication 13, dans lequel l'indicateur d'impact est appliqué en plaçant une perle (20) de résine thermodurcissable dans un moule femelle (21) ; en insérant le bord du stratifié composite dans le moule femelle ; et en chauffant la perle et le stratifié composite de sorte que le stratifié composite durcisse et que la perle soit codurcie sur le bord. Procédé de fabrication d'une structure de stratifié composite selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, dans lequel chaque structure du stratifié composite comprend une phase de renforcement et une phase de résine d'enrobage, le procédé consistant à former l'indicateur d'impact en insérant le bord du stratifié composite dans un moule femelle (21), à ménager un espace (22) entre le bord et le moule femelle ; et à chauffer le stratifié composite de sorte que la phase de résine d'enrobage s'écoule dans l'espace et forme l'indicateur d'impact.






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C Chemie; Hüttenwesen
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F Maschinenbau; Beleuchtung; Heizung; Waffen; Sprengen
G Physik
H Elektrotechnik

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