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Thermoforming of Thermoplastics Matrix Composites

  1. Antonio Greco,
  2. Riccardo Gennaro,
  3. Alfonso Maffezzoli

Published Online: 20 JUL 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118097298.weoc251

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites

How to Cite

Greco, A., Gennaro, R. and Maffezzoli, A. 2012. Thermoforming of Thermoplastics Matrix Composites. Wiley Encyclopedia of Composites. 1–15.

Author Information

  1. University of Salento, Monteroni, Lecce, Italy

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 JUL 2012

Abstract

This review addresses thermoforming of thermoplastic matrix composites (TPCs) reinforced with long or continuous fibers and of sandwich panels obtained using TPCs as skins. Thermoforming is a very versatile class of processes, applied to the production of parts of different thickness, ranging from < 1 mm for neat polymers to several millimeters for TPCs. Thermoforming technologies are based on the simultaneous application of temperature and pressure to a composite sheet, which is forced against the surface of a mold and then rapidly cooled down to allow its extraction. Besides processes description, the review reports the mechanisms of consolidation accounting for TPCs' specific behavior associated with the very high matrix viscosity. Finally, a brief analysis of the most common process-induced defects is presented. The latest technologies and materials developments as well as the future trends for TPC processing, either for mass production or for high technology applications, are envisaged.

Keywords:

  • thermoforming;
  • thermoplastic composites;
  • consolidation;
  • compression molding;
  • continuous forming;
  • bladder molding;
  • vacuum forming;
  • diaphragm forming