Proceedings of the
9th International Conference of Asian Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology (ASPEN2022)
15 – 18 November 2022, Singapore

IR-Thermoforming Window Design via a Thermal Approach: for CFRTP and Hybrid Thermoplastic Composites

Cheah Yi Wen1,a, Deng Xinying2, Tran Le Quan Ngoc1, Tan Long Bin3 and Teo Wern Sze1

1Polymer Technology Group, Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, 5 Cleantech Loop #01-01, CleanTech Two Block B, 636732, Singapore

2Sustainable & Circular Process Technology Group, Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, 2 Fusionopolis Way, #08-04 Innovis, 138634, Singapore

3Engineering Mechanics Department, Institute of High Performance Computing, 1 Fusionopolis Way, #16-16 Connexis North Tower, 138632, Singapore


Thermoforming of continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) is a fast-manufacturing process conducted using rapid infrared (IR) heating of composite prepreg/laminate followed by shaping the product using a mould with geometry. There is a vast scope for the thermoforming process window design by considering the thermal aspects in IR heating and thermoforming process. A reliable thermal process design approach was established from the understanding of the thermal behaviour of material and mapping it to specific process control parameters to provide the right forming conditions for thermoforming. An in-depth correlation study of the material-process influence for thermoforming is presented. Thermal behaviour of the CFRTP was evaluated using commonly used diagnostic tools like TGA, DSC and DMA and a real-time temperature loss recording of the CFRTP to define the time period where thermoforming was feasible. This thermal approach can be used to determine the suitability of any thermoplastic composite material for thermoforming and define the suitable process window without trial and error. Application of this methodology was successfully demonstrated in thermoforming of CFRTP of different thermoplastic system as well as hybrid thermoplastic composites.

Keywords: Thermoforming, IR heating, thermal design, CFRTP, hybrid composites

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