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Lightweight Structures Laboratory - LEL


Automatic Fiber Placement Machine
 

Lightweighting is key to modern structures. Affordable structures, with less weight and less cost, are vital to the achievement of a sustainable society. The materials to be used on these structures on the future must have its origins on renewable sources and must be safely recycled or disposed.

An important agent of innovation in lightweight structures is the aerospace/aeronautics sector, which current and future competitiveness depends directly on dominating these technologies. However, the application of these technologies is potentially useful to many other industries, such as the automotive and autoparts, oil and gas, naval, defense, healthcare, leisure, generation and transport of electric and wind energy and infrastructure.
Lightweighting is the key to enhance competitiveness on several fields of activity
 

The Lightweight Structures Laboratory - LEL was created in response to the necessity for an integrated infrastructure for R&D in lightweight structures. Today, it is under construction and partially operational. LEL is strategically installed at the Technological Park of the city of São José dos Campos, located between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, close to the major industrial centers and research and teaching institutions.

The LEL infrastructure is prepared to operate at all stages of the lightweight structures development: conception, designing, modeling, simulation, experimental production, measuring and testing, which results are used for project refinement.


OBJECTIVES


Offer R&D&I and specialized technical services on the design, development and testing of lightweight structures (metallic, composite and hybrid) in a collaborative way with private companies, R&D institutions and universities from Brazil and abroad.


MARKET AND RESEARCH FIELDS


  • Aerospace and aeronautics
  • Automotive
  • Oil and gas
  • Transportation
  • Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Infrastructure


RESEARCH PROJECTS

Advanced aeronautical metallic structures

– Objectives:
  • Development of joining processes for weight reduction: Friction Stir Welding, Adhesively bonded joints, New mechanical fasteners;
  • Development of advanced forming processes: Superplastic Forming, Creep Age Forming;
  • Micrographic and mechanical (strength, fatigue life) characterization of coupons;
  • Joint modeling (FEM);
  • Forming process modeling (FEM).
  • Application and analysis of these processes in aerospace structures manufacturing in an integrated manner.

– Partners:
  • IPT – Institute for Technological Research
  • ITA – Technological Institute of Aeronautics
  • POLI (USP) – Polytechnic School – University of São Paulo
  • EESC (USP) – São Carlos School of Engineering – University of São Paulo
  • FEM-UNICAMP – Faculty of Mechanical Engineering – University of Campinas
  • FEI – University Center of FEI
  • EMBRAER – Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica


Development and application of the composite technology for aeronautic structures

Objectives:
  • Develop technological knowledge in composite process for aeronautic applications;
  • Case studies: weight reduction (10% to 15%) and cost reduction (around 10% or above), compared to regular metallic aeronautic structures;
  • Act into whole product development: engineering, manufacturing, materials and testing.

– Partners:
  • IPT – Institute for Technological Research
  • ITA – Technological Institute of Aeronautics
  • POLI (USP) – Polytechnic School – University of São Paulo
  • EESC (USP) – São Carlos School of Engineering – University of São Paulo
  • IEE (USP) – Institute of Electrotechnique and Energy – University of São Paulo
  • FEG-UNESP – Faculty of Engineering at Guaratinguetá - UNESP
  • FEM-UNICAMP – Faculty of Mechanical Engineering – University of Campinas
  • EMBRAER – Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica


Development of the composites automatic laying processes for aeronautic structures

– Objectives:
  • Develop technological background on composites automatic laying processes, such as: Tape Laying, Fiber Placement, and others;
  • Apply selected technologies in a regular aeronautic structure to evaluate advances;
  • Develop technical documents able to used on future projects in this field;
  • Evaluate methodologies, softwares and apparatus for automatic laying processes.

– Partners:
  • IPT – Institute for Technological Research
  • ITA – Technological Institute of Aeronautics
  • EESC (USP) – São Carlos School of Engineering – University of São Paulo
  • EMBRAER – Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáutica


INFRASTRUCTURE AND EQUIPMENT


The LEL infrastructure is focused on modeling and computational simulation, experimental production, measuring and testing, providing support at all stages of the development of lightweight structures. See the list of available resources in each laboratory area:

 
  • LEL - high technology equipment for lightweght structures
 


Composites:


– Clean Room Class 9 (ISO 14.644):
  • Automated Fiber Placement Machine (4 m x 3 m)
  • Automated Tape Laying Machine (12 m x 4 m)
  • Hot Drape Machine (6 m x 1,5 m)
  • Textile Cutting Machine (3 m x 1,8 m)
  • RTM, VaRTM and Infusion (1,1 m x 0,6 m x 0,4 m)
  • Hand lay-up

– Workshop:
  • Autoclaves (Ø1,0 m x 1,5 m; 450°C / Ø1,5 m x 4,0 m; 250°C)
  • Oven for out-of-autoclave curing (8 m x 3,5 m)
  • Freezer for resin and prepreg storage (4,6 m x 3,6 m x 2,5 m)


Metallics:
  • Friction Stir Welding Machine (FSW) (5-axis, 30kW spindle)
  • Superplastic Forming Press (SPF/HF/DB) (150 t / 1000°C / 40 bar)
  • CNC machining center
  • CNC lathe
  • Saw

Testing and Analysis:
  • Static Mechanical Testing (100 kN; thermal chamber (-150°C to 350°C)
  • Fatigue Testing (100 kN and 250 kN; thermal chamber (-120°C to 310°C)
  • Durometers
  • Ultrasound Equipment
  • Residual Stress Analyzer
  • Salt Spray Chamber
  • Environmental Chambers (Temperature range: -75°C to 180°C / Humidity range: 10% to 98% RH)
  • Microscopes for microscopic analysis
  • Specimen preparation equipment
  • 3D Coordinate Measuring Machine
  • Laser Tracker

Engineering Softwares:
  • CATIA V5 – Design and modeling (CAD)
  • CAE-FEA (NASTRAN/PATRAN) – FE modeling and simulation

Composite Simulation Softwares:
  • ACE V2 - Advanced Composite Environment for Automatic Layup (Fiber Placement and Tape Laying)
  • FIBERSIM – Modeling and simulation of composites manufacturing processes
  • PAM-RTM – Simulation of Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), Vacuum Assisted RTM (VaRTM) and Infusion processes
  • SYSPLY – Design, analysis and optimization of composite material structures; simulation of the mechanical behavior of composites structures; prediction of composite material and tooling distortion


TECHNICAL PAPERS

Assessment of automated fiber placement coverage generation algorithms
Wellington Lombardo Nunes de Mello; Rynaldo Zanotele Hemerly de Almeida; Alex Camilli Bottene

Research and development on composites: a strategy to overcome technological challenges
Marco Antonio Grecco D'Elia; Alex Camilli Bottene; Luiz Eduardo Lopes

Experimental evaluation of automated fiber placement manufacturing parameters
Alex Camilli Bottene; Wellington Lombardo Nunes de Mello; Rynaldo Zanotele Hemerly de Almeida

Development of complex shape composite structures – An automated fiber placement application
Alex Camilli Bottene; Wellington Lombardo Nunes de Mello; Rynaldo Zanotele Hemerly de Almeida; Priscila Prado Gomes


FINANCING INSTITUTIONS

  • BNDES (National Development Bank)
  • FINEP (Brazilian Innovation Agency)
  • FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation)
  • SDECT (Secretariat for Economic Development, Science and Technology of the State of São Paulo)
  • IPT – Institute for Technological Research
  • Municipality of São José Dos Campos, SP

 
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