Laboratory autoclave

The laboratory autoclave is based at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig. The facility consists of two pressurised ovens (autoclaves) in which components made of Carbon-Fibre-Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) are cured. Together with their associated infrastructure, the autoclaves are the focal point of ongoing research to investigate the manufacture of fibre-composite components.

Finding an efficient temperature for CFRP production

Autoclave one (1.2 metres in diameter by 1.2 metres long) operates at temperatures of over 400 degrees Celsius and is therefore suitable for processing high-temperature thermoplastics. In addition, the autoclave is equipped with video monitoring equipment and an injection unit, which are integrated directly into the overall system.

Autoclave two – which incorporates a Microwave Assisted Curing System (MACS) – has a diameter of 1.6 metres and a length of four metres. It operates at temperatures of more than 200 degrees Celsius and, consequently, is equipped for the processing of all Duromer resin systems. As an additional feature, the autoclave is equipped with a microwave system that enables selective and volumetric heating, depending on the processed product. Sensors are used to ensure laminates are consistently produced to the highest possible standard, as well as being utilised to improve the sustainability of the energy-intensive autoclave process.

The autoclaves, along with their associated infrastructure, are the centrepiece of virtually all research activities receiving core and third-party funding to investigate the manufacture of fibre-composite components. Each year, well over 300 test plates and experimental components are manufactured in the autoclaves. The production of structural components that are suitable for certification in the aeronautics and space sectors is easily possible.


Volker Speelmann

Head of Research Infrastructures
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Executive Board department for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Markus Kleineberg

Composite Technology Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems
Lilienthalplatz 7, 38108 Braunschweig