The technology makes it possible to position fiber plies at any angle and at any point in the tube’s length or thickness.
The technology makes it possible to position fiber plies at any angle and at any point in the tube’s length or thickness.

NTPT, the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and other partners, plan to implement a research project to improve discontinuous carbon fiber tubes.

NTPT has been producing the tubes using a patent pending method with Thin Ply prepreg materials since 2016. The technology makes it possible to position fiber plies at any angle and at any point in the tube’s length or thickness.

The four-year research will focus on improving the potential of tubular discontinuous fiber composites by creating design rules, improving the material and looking at the cost effectiveness of the process, helping NTPT to better communicate its advantages to the performance market sectors, and to expedite the initial stages of new projects and product development.

Carbon fiber composite tubes can be used in various market sectors and applications such as thin wall tubes in the aero sector as struts or control arms, automotive drive shafts, masts and booms in the marine sector, rollers and cylinders for industrial applications and the performance sports sector, in particular golf. On a larger scale the technology may be applicable to the automated manufacture of wind turbine spar and root components. Two components will be developed through the course of the study. One short term project is a windsurf mast which will be developed over an 18-month period in conjunction with professional windsurfer Tristan Algret, and the other is a three-year project with a leading aerospace company to develop tubular structures for UAVs.

‘We are embarking on an exciting project that is the obvious next step in our research and development into high performance composite tubes,’ said James Austin, CEO, NTPT. ‘We have established a sound platform from which to launch our parts business, and we are excited about the progress made this year. Now is the time to move into this next stage of research, which will allow us to more easily provide customer-specific responses to new applications and enquiries, and enable us to move into the prototyping stage of new products more quickly.’

This story is reprinted from material from NTPT, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.