The Effect of Backing Profile on Cutting Blade Wear during High-Volume Production of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Composites
Carbon fiber sheet molding compound (SMC) is an attractive material for automotive lightweighting applications, but several issues present themselves when adapting a process developed for glass fiber composites to instead use carbon fibers. SMC is a discontinuous fiber material, so individual carbon fiber tows must be chopped into uniform rovings before being compounded with the resin matrix. Rotary chopping is one such method for producing rovings, but high wear rates are seen when cutting carbon fibers. Experiments were performed to investigate the wear progression of cutting blades during rotary carbon fiber chopping. A small rotary chopper with a polyurethane (PU) backing and thin, hardened steel blades was used to perform extended wear tests (120,000 chops, or until failure to reliably chop tows) to simulate the lifespan of blades during composite material production.