Development of Low Cost Fuselage Frames by Resin Transfer Molding
This paper presents work on the development of a low cost fuselage C-frame for aircraft primary structure using a Light Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) process. Compared to labor intensive hand layup prepreg technologies, Light RTM offers some substantial advantages by reducing infrastructure requirements such as hydraulic presses or autoclaves. Compared to Prepreg, Light RTM tooling creates two finished surfaces, which is an advantage during installation due to improved dimensional accuracy. The focus of this work was to develop means of achieving high fiber volume fraction structural frames using low cost tooling and a low volume manufacturing strategy. In this case a three piece Light RTM mold was developed using an internal mandrel. To achieve the strength requirements, a combination of crimped and non-crimped fabrics were selected for the reinforcing preform.