A Mouldable Thermoplastic Interface for Advanced Composite Components to Reduce Costs in Aircraft Assembly 2005-01-3310
The Mouldable Thermoplastic Interface (MTI) process has been developed as a technique to reduce costs in precision assembly of advanced composite components, particularly those cured in autoclaves. In this process, a thermoplastic layer is cocured locally onto the surface of a carbon/epoxy composite component. After curing the component can be precisely profiled in critical areas to allow accurate assembly. The process appears capable of delivering part thickness reproducibility of better than 100 μm (0.004″) and thus should be very useful in implementing Determinant Assembly principles for composite parts. Various applications of MTI and experiments relating to precision dimensioning are presented. Additionally, production cost estimates are detailed, showing the potential for application of MTI to assemblies joined by automated fastening.