TWI has been carrying out research and development into composite materials for over 25 years. This gives considerable breadth to our expertise, which covers all aspects of working with composites including design, modelling, processing, repair, NDT, failure analysis, joining, added functionality (coatings) and testing.
The breadth of our knowledge also draws on the use of composites in the many different industry sectors with which we work, each with differing requirements and applications
Composite materials can be processed into components and structures in many ways, depending on the materials used, the complexity of the geometry and the production output required. One of the principal areas of research affecting the uptake of composites is the development of methods of joining them to similar or dissimilar materials.
TWI is developing a number of different joining technologies for composite parts. These technologies are usually bespoke and customised to the specific geometry and materials involved. They can either be part of the manufacturing process (co-curing) or a separate process that may require machining (mechanical fastening) or further surface treatment (adhesive bonding).
The processing of composites is one of TWI's key technologies; not just single-part manufacturing processes, but also incorporating the joining of parts into assemblies.
Technical expertise in the area includes:
- Induction welding of thermoplastic composites
- Co-curing of thermoset composites
- Thermal assisted piercing of thermoplastic composites for mechanical fastening
- Microwave welding of thermoplastic composites with dissimilar materials
- Adhesive bonding.
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