Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Large Carbon Fiber Structures...

Here is an interesting clip showing the manufacturing of a fuselage section of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Much like filament winding, this tape laying machine is tightly wrapping carbon fiber prepreg around an extremely large mandrel. This mandrel is on a track, and is rolled into a massive autoclave where the carbon fiber is consolidated under heat and pressure.

In the clip you will notice they only show fiber being layed around the circumference of the fuselage, this provides the the incredible hoop-strength needed. It is my guess that that tape laying head can also rotate 90 degrees to lay prepreg tape along the length of the plane. (Someone correct me if I am wrong). Ironically, Boeing recently announced there are structural problems with their fuselage that will cause yet another delay while engineers reinforce these sections. You can read that announcement here.

Interesting to see this machine in action, it helps get the mind moving as to what else could be made using this process...

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