Advanced thermoplastic composites manufacturing using laser assisted tape placement or winding (LATP/LATW) is a challenging task as monitoring and predicting nip point (bonding) temperature are difficult especially on curved surfaces. A comprehensive numerical analysis of the heat flux and temperature distribution near the nip point is carried out in this paper for helical winding of fiber reinforced thermoplastic tapes on a cylindrically shaped mandrel. An optical ray-tracing technique is coupled with a numerical heat transfer model in the process simulation tool. The developed optical-thermal model predictions were compared with experimental data available in literature to validate its effectiveness. The influences of winding/placement angle, mandrel curvature and tape width on the incident angles, the laser absorbed intensity, and the process temperature distribution are studied extensively using the validated model. Winding/placement angle has a considerable effect on the temperature distribution. Increase in winding angle results in a higher temperature for tape due to more reflections coming from the substrate. On the other hand, substrate temperature decreases as the winding angle increases due to a decrease in the laser incident angles based on the local surface curvature. An increase in mandrel curvature results in higher nip point temperatures for substrate and lower one for tape. Different mandrel sizes for 90° placement path do not have a strong effect on the substrate process temperature as for other winding angles because of less curvature change of the corresponding irradiated area. Tape width causes local temperature variations at the edges of the tape/substrate. In order to obtain the desired process temeprature during LATW or LATP processes, the laser intensity distribution on the tape and substrate surfaces should be regulated.
- Helical winding/placement
- Laser assisted tape winding/placement
- Simulation model
- Thermoplastic composites