Will it Crease or Cease? A study of debulking of air pockets in automated prepreg composite layup

Christian Krogh*, Johnny Jakobsen, Jakob Wilm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Automatic draping of carbon-fiber prepreg plies for the aerospace industry is a promising technique for lowering the manufacturing costs and to this end, a thorough in-process quality control is crucial. In this paper, out-of-plane defects in the layup are investigated. After draping, air pockets are occasionally encountered. The question is, if such apparent defects can be mitigated sufficiently during vacuum debulking. The 3D topology is measured by means of a structured-light 3D scanner and air pockets are segmented. An approximate mass-spring ply model is used to study the behavior of the air pockets during application of vacuum pressure. The model is computationally fast and will indicate online whether the air pocket will be removed or manual intervention is required. Upon comparing the model predictions with experimental data, it is shown that the system is capable of correctly predicting 13 out of 14 air pockets in a test layup.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106052
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Issue numberNovember
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Accepted manuscript


  • Approximate modeling
  • Debulking
  • Draping
  • Vision system


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