Composites A, Applied Science and Manufacturing vol:30 issue:5 pages:667-682
Much potential and interest exists for the fast processing of lightweight, inexpensive composite preforms in automotive and other transport applications. As a thermoplastic matrix is more suitable for mass production with short cycle times, a novel cost-effective glass fibre reinforced thermoplastic textile preform is developed. Weft-inserted warp knitting is used to produce this textile preform containing both the reinforcing fibres and the thermoplastic matrix material as split-film ribbons. The aim of the work is to establish a useful processing technique and to control those parameters which lead to the production of good quality composite parts. The current study is specifically directed at determining the feasibility of the GMT-based cold pressing technique for the manufacturing of this new type of thermoplastic composite. An experimental design method is used to develop a statistical model which gives response surfaces of the effects of the processing parameters on the mechanical performance of the final composite part. Processing variables are ranked in order of importance to determine the optimal processing window. An economical comparison with the use of long fibre reinforced GMT mats proves the cost-efficiency of this new continuous reinforced thermoplastic composite. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.