Crystallization of thermoplastic composites during the heating phase of Laser-Assisted Fiber Placement

An experimental investigation into the development of degree of crystallinity in CF/PPS tapes during the heating phase of LAFP

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Laser-assisted fiber placement (LAFP) is a promising manufacturing process for thermoplastic composites (TPCs), which enables out-of-autoclave production and eliminates post-consolidation steps. In LAFP, thermoplastic carbon fiber tapes are heated with a laser heat source and placed into the desired layup with the help of a robot, while being compressed by a pressure roller to achieve intimate contact between layers. Despite its advantages, the technology is not yet ready for commercial use due to limitations in laminate quality and consolidation. A crucial factor affecting these is the degree of crystallinity in the thermoplastic matrix, which has received limited attention in previous research. The crystallization behavior in rapidly laser-heated TPCs is unknown, making it difficult to predict matrix-fiber viscosity and intimate contact. This study investigates the impact of rapid laser heating on the crystallization of TPCs.