Emphasis of the fiber reinforced composite technology at the institute in the last years was the development of thermoplastic and thermo set fiber reinforced composite and hybrid structures in autoclave less manufacturing methods. The VARI procedure (Vacuum assisted resin infusion) was developed at Institute as alternative to the VAP- or SLI procedure and is used for large structures as cost effective manufacturing method with RTM6. The thermoplastic technology at the Institute is based on process technologies like the vacuum consolidation, the vacuum molding and the forming in a heated press. The development of these process technologies is extensively optimized. The emphasis of the research work is today under use of these process technologies in the combination of different reinforced and homogeny qualities of thermoplastic into new design methods. For complex parts the development of new additional joining techniques like press weling and resistance welding as well as the necessary tooling is in the foreground.
Consequently in the area of the thermo set fiber reinforced materials we began to create alternatives to Prepreg by autoclave less manufacturing methods with similar procedures like with thermoplastics consolidation methods. The VARI procedure offers in addition a maximum of flexibility for the production of complex multi curved structures. The development and manufacturing of these thermo set structures is assisted by numeric tools for the mechanical simulation and the simulation of process steps like the Prepreg lay-up.
Today in both material routes, well coordinated collaborations are established with industrial partners, e.g. Airbus Germany GmbH and EADS Military Air System, as well as institutes of the DLR in the context of military projects for aviation.