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Rani Elhajjar
Additive Manufacturing of Aerospace Composite Structures: Fabrication and Reliability introduces the reader to the current state of technologies involved in processing and design of polymer-reinforced fiber composites using additive manufacturing’s automated fiber placement methods, through ten seminal SAE International papers. Currently, the material layup strategy in terms of process selection and manufacturability is usually not prioritized in the design phase. Engineers do not have a good way to see how their design choices can affect the manufacturing process beyond their initial structural-level considerations. The result is typically a large amount of experimental testing necessary to qualify the materials and structures typified in the classical building-block approach. Such an environment makes mistakes difficult to solve and, should redesign be required, obtaining reliable information is hard to piece together.
Rani Elhajjar, Tracy Gill
Additive manufacturing (AM) for space exploration has become a growing opportunity as long-range space missions evolve. In partnership with the National Space Grant Foundation and NASA, students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee participated in the 2014-15 X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge, with participants tasked with developing new AM solutions that would be recyclable with minimal loss in mechanical properties. The teams investigated materials, characterization, testing, modeling, and tool development, including the ability to employ reusable carbon-fiber tension ties. The tools developed show that it is possible to employ thermoplastic polymer materials fabricated using AM together with reusable and flexible high-performance carbon-fiber-based composite ties. The AM-printed part is completely recyclable. The carbon-fiber composite ties are repurposed into new structural configurations without loss in properties.
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