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PRISCA - Polyurethane Resin Transfer Moulding for cost-efficient, impact resistant composite parts
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Project PRISCA

The EUREKA Project PRISCA – Polyurethane Reaction Injection for Structural Composite Application –covers the development of process technology in Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) for reinforced polyurethane components. The project is divided in two different applications – aerospace and railway – by using sophisticated technologies in each field with suitable mechanical properties of polyurethane matrix as listed below:

  • Aerospace with monolithic structure
    • High impact strength
    • Very good abrasion resistance
    • Process integration
    • Cost efficient process
  • Railway / Public transportation with sandwich structure
    • Integration of fire prevention (FST)
    • High durability and good energy absorption
    • Weight reduction
    • Resistance against vandalism

Using polyurethane systems as matrix material allows faster processing thanks to high reactive resins. In comparison to epoxy systems, PU offers a wider properties spectrum, e.g. integration of additives, reactivity, fracture toughness, lower-cost resins.

State of the art

The RTM process is particularly attractive in the mentioned fields of application, because structural components with high surface quality (the surface formed in the fixed half of the die) can be efficiently produced in medium to high volumes. In comparison with the prepreg process, which is widely used especially in aircraft manufacture, it has lower investment costs, because it requires neither large cool storage spaces nor autoclaves; and further, the process cycle times are significantly shorter. RTM processes are well suited for automation, regarding the entire chain of process steps from cutting of the fibres up to the demoulding of the component.

RTM Process

Figure: RTM process

Notable examples are the BMW i3 and i8 models, with carbon-fibre reinforced plastic bodywork made entirely by means of the HP-RTM process. In recent years both the major aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have developed aircraft consisting of more than 50% by weight of fibre-reinforced plastic (Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” and Airbus A350).

In summary within the PRISCA project the RTM process is to be developed for aerospace and railway applications, whereas in both parts the technology will be proved by a demonstrator.