In-situ Fiber Optic Temperature Field Measurement During Thermoplastic Composite Welding

Description:

Reference #: 01310

The University of South Carolina is offering licensing opportunities for In-situ Fiber Optic Temperature Field Measurement During Thermoplastic Composite Welding.

 

Background:

Thermoplastic composites are of growing interest in the aerospace sector due to their inherent properties. Their high toughness results in low-weight designs, and the physical process only involves melting without a curing cycle, which results in fast and robust processing. The usage of thermoplastic composites in aerospace primary parts is growing at an accelerated rate.

 

In-situ measurement of temperature distribution during welding of thermoplastic composites is challenging and very difficult to attain. Infrared (IR) techniques can be used to assess the temperature values, but these values would pertain only to the material surface and not to the interior of the material where the welding actually takes place. This is particularly important in induction welding processes where the temperature inside the weld is considerably different from the surface temperature.

 

Invention Description:

An in-situ temperature field measurement that can perform process monitoring and diagnosis for thermoplastic composite welding and other applications. Temperature is measured continuously and simultaneously over a volume or area inside the material being monitored. The key element is a distributed sensor that can be permanently embedded in the thermoplastic welded structure when it is welded, and is left there to perform life-long monitoring and inspection.

 

Potential Applications:

The major potential industrial application of this invention is in aerospace engineering. Using the in-situ distributed fiber optic sensor, a solution for monitoring thermoplastic welding is likely to be adopted by many industrial users. Utilizing the unique properties of the distributed fiber optic sensor, a variety of methods can be integrated into this sensing system to detect the temperature, strain, from the manufacturing process to the entire operational life of the structure.

 

The other applications include, but are not limited to, in-situ temperature field measurement on thermoset composite curing (autoclave), thermoplastic and thermoset composite during compression molding, fiber-optic field measurements on freeze/thaw of large items of public health interests, etc.

 

Advantages and Benefits:

In the fabrication of welded thermoplastic composites through induction heating, the invention will increase efficiency and accuracy and reduce rejects because it can measure the temperature field distribution right in the welded area. This will lead to increasing of productivity and minimizing the risk of rejects. It will also simplify the thermoplastic induction welding process by overcoming the possibility of creating defects.

 

In the fabrication of autoclave or heated vacuum-bag or hot-press cured thermoset composites, the invention will increase efficiency and accuracy and reduce rejects because it can measure the temperature field distribution inside the material during the cure process and develop temperature maps that can be used to adjust the heating pattern. This will lead to increasing of productivity and minimizing the risk of rejects. It will also simplify the thermoset cure process by overcoming the possibility of creating defects.

 

In the case of refrigerated food items carried in bulk or other health-safety critical situation that required a uniformly maintained low or cryogenic temperature, the invention will promote safety by providing a continuous reading of low temperature distribution in the safety-critical items over a period of time.

 

 

 

 

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Technology Commercialization
University of South Carolina
technology@sc.edu
Inventors:
Lingyu Yu
Victor Giurgiutiu
Mohammad Faisal Haider
Bin Lin
Keywords:
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