Skip to main content

Simulation Assisted Design for an Additively Manufactured Autoclave Tool Accounting for an Anisotropic Expansion...

Publication Type
Conference Paper
Book Title
The Proceedings of the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) 2019
Publication Date
Conference Name
The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX 2019)
Conference Location
Anaheim, California, United States of America
Conference Sponsor
Conference Date

Carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites have been used in Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) to decrease the distortion during the printing process and increase functional stiffness. These materials are also important for additively manufactured autoclave tooling which expands when exposed to the high temperatures of the operational cycle, causing the dimensions of the mold to differ from the targeted design. Since the reinforcing fibers generally align during the extrusion process, the thermal expansion of the composite along the deposition direction is restrained by fibers, whereas the thermal expansion perpendicular to the bead is largely unconstrained. This leads to an anisotropic expansion of the material that is dependent upon the local deposition path, which may be tortuous and complex. To obtain an accurate final part geometry during the autoclave process, a computational prediction of the thermal expansion of a tool is required to account for the complex extrusion deposition directions. A multi-step approach is presented that accounts for (1) anisotropic thermal expansion of the extruded bead, (2) the complex deposition directions, and (3) internal geometry determined by slicing software. The thermal expansion coefficient in the deposition direction and perpendicular to the deposition direction were measured at multiple locations in the test specimen. A revised model geometry was generated to achieve the target dimensions when accounting for thermal expansion.