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After nearly two years’ research and development at ACG’s Technology Centre, the processing and performance requirements of ACG Grafoam FPA-20 Carbon Foam Tooling System have now been fully characterised.
It is now hoped that the carbon foam product, combined with associated novel technologies, will enable exciting new concepts in low CTE, low mass composite tooling.
ACG Grafoam FPA-20 Carbon Foam Tooling System exhibits an extremely low CTE (2.3 x 10-6/°C), and also has a thermal resistance that exceeds composite processing requirements.According to ACG, it can be rapidly machined to near-finished size and then encapsulated in ACG’s interface technology and a tooling laminate skin, typically ACG’s Low Temperature Moulding (LTM) laminate.
The thermal qualities of the carbon foam also allow the application of higher temperature resin systems from ACG’s medium (MTM) and high (HTM) temperature tooling laminate ranges. Once cured, the final tool profile is created with a second machining operation.
ACG say that tools manufactured from Grafoam FPA-20 Carbon Foam Tooling System are fully self-supporting, and are suitable for traditional and emerging composite process methods, particularly tape placement and filament winding, where low weight is a major benefit when manipulating extremely large tools, the latter of which is a major issue with Invar or other metallic tooling. Large development tools, manufactured at ACG’s facilities for a major aircraft manufacturer in North America, have achieved dimensional accuracy of 0.2mm on particularly complex surface profiles, but with the vast majority falling within +/-0.1mm.
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