Induction technology is suitable for the processing of thermoplastic and thermoset polymer materials but requires special susceptor additives.
Induction technology is suitable for the processing of thermoplastic and thermoset polymer materials but requires special susceptor additives.

Abstract

Since the late 1980s a small number of research groups have been attracted to the idea of using induction heating technology for the processing of fibre reinforced polymer composites.

Induction technology is suitable for the processing of thermoplastic and thermoset polymer materials but requires special susceptor additives (conductive materials), either in the form of structured fibres and fabric or particulate that can transform the electromagnetic energy into heat.

This paper aims to summarise the principles of induction heating with respect to polymer composites processing, taking a look first at material and equipment based process influences. State of the art applications and research activities are then reviewed, from thermoplastic composite welding, thermoset curing, selective material heating and fast mould heating technologies. Current simulation possibilities and available software tools are also covered.

Finally, some new ideas and possibilities for future developments in the field of polymer composites processing are discussed.

Conclusions

Although induction heating is a well-known technique for the welding of thermoplastics and curing of thermosets, it is likely to remain as a niche process in the future.

However, in the light of recent process developments and the requirements for a more ecological approach to manufacturing, the need for efficient and sustainable techniques could warrant the increased application of induction heating and encourage the necessary modifications.

Authors

Thomas Bayerl and Debes Bhattacharyyaa, The University of Auckland, New Zealand, and Miro Duhovic and Peter Mitschang, Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH, Germany.

Further information

This paper was published in Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, Volume 57, February 2014, pages 27-40 and is available on ScienceDirect.com.