The work presented here focusses on the developments in the stabilising and trimming of 3D woven preforms. Dry fibre preforms are notoriously difficult to trim; once a fabric is cut, it loses its edge stability and consequently the fabric frays. The result is an unstable fabric which can easily be displaced/ distorted prior to composite manufacturing. In this work, three stabilisation and three trimming techniques were investigated. Of the stabilisation techniques these included powder binder, thermoplastic binder yarn (activated to give fabric stabilization); and polyester stitching. The stabilised fabrics were trimmed to near-net-shape using different trimming techniques. The trimming techniques investigated were laser, clicker press and ultrasonic knife. Each stabilisation method was trialled with each trimming method to assess the most suitable combination. The assessment of quality and suitability was made by observing the level of stabilisation, amount of fraying fibres, quality of the cut, ease of application and repeatability of the process. This paper details the assessments made for each combination alongside practical application conclusions. The key findings were; cutting by means of a laser is capable of sealing the fabric edges, producing high edge quality. Stitching as a method of stabilising is not sufficient in preventing fibres from moving during the cutting process, hence producing an unclean cut.
Snape, A. E., Turner, J. L., El-Dessouky, H. M., Saleh, M. N., Tew, H., & Scaife, R. J. (2018). Stabilising and Trimming 3D Woven Fabrics for Composite Preforming Applications. Applied Composite Materials, 25(4), 735-746. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10443-018-9717-x