Low-cost Hybrid Tooling Materials for Increased Uptake of Carbon Fibre Components - HyTool

Abstract

Mould tools used to produce carbon fibre parts must generally be made from carbon fibre or Invar due to the need to match the very low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of carbon. These materials are expensive and have high embodied CO2, especially when considering that the moulds are often only used a few times to produce limited runs or even one-off parts before being scrapped. This limits the use of carbon fibre to high-end applications, restricts profitability and has a high impact on the environment. Flax natural fibre has a low CTE, similar to carbon, but has significantly lower cost and environmental impact, and it has been shown to work well with carbon in a hybrid lay-up. Therefore flax could potentially be used to replace some (or all) of the carbon fibre in composite moulds, thereby reducing costs and environmental impact. However, significant work is required to develop the materials and prove their suitability for use in composite moulds. The HyTool project will develop flax and hybrid flax-carbon tooling materials to reduce the cost and environmental impact of carbon fibre composite moulds. Reducing the cost of tooling will increase the profitability and competitiveness of the project partners and the wider UK composites supply chain, and will open up new applications for carbon fibre parts, generating additional revenue and jobs.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Composites Evolution Limited, Chesterfield £86,101 £ 59,117
 

Participant

K.S. Composites Limited, MELTON MOWBRAY £10,404 £ 6,242

Publications

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