Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

Modelling Compaction Behavior of Toughened Prepreg During Automated Fibre Placement



One of the most widely used automated manufacturing processes for composite parts is automated fibre placement (AFP). The deposition process involves the simultaneous warming, lay-up and consolidation of prepreg consisting of multitude of process parameters. Currently, AFP process parameters that ensure part conformance are derived by expensive and time-consuming trial-and-error approaches. The aim of this study is to demonstrate how physics-based finite element simulations that can predict the as manufactured geometry of a preform deposited by AFP can help reduce some of the empiricism associated with current industry practices. Here we particularly focus on the consolidation behaviour of toughened prepregs during the deposition process. An isothermal roller compaction model with thermal properties derived from an independent simplified thermo-mechanical model of the AFP head is used. Additionally, a fully characterised viscoelastic material definition is used for the prepreg tape along with a hyperelastic material for the compaction roller to accurately represent the physical parts. Various lay-up speeds, heater powers and compaction forces are simulated. To reduce the empiricism present in the manufacturing process, the viability of incorporating the numerical models into existing statistical relationships between process parameters and manufactured geometry is examined.


Full Text:



Lichtinger, R., Hormann, P., Stelzl, D. and Hinterholz, R. 2015. “The effects of heat input on

adjacent paths during Automated Fibre Placement,” Composites Part A: Applied Science and

Manufacturing., 68: 387-397.

Kollmannsberger, A., Lichtinger, R., Hohenester, F., Ebel, C. and Drechsler, K. 2018. “Numerical

analysis of the temperature profile during the laser-assisted automated fiber placement of CFRP

tapes with thermoplastic matrix.” Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials, 31(12): 1563–

Belnoue, J. P. H., Nixon-Pearson, O. J., Ivanov, D. and Hallett, S. R. 2016. “A novel hyperviscoelastic

model for consolidation of toughened prepregs under processing conditions,”

Mechanics of Materials., 97: 118-134.

Lukaszewicz, D. H. J. A., Ward, C. and Potter, K. D. 2012. “The engineering aspects of automated

prepreg layup: History, present and future,” Composites Part B: Engineering, 43(3): 997–1009.

Croft, K., Lessard, L., Pasini, D., Hojjati, M., Chen, J. and Yousefpour, A. 2011. “Experimental

study of the effect of automated fiber placement induced defects on performance of composite

laminates.” Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing., 42: 484-491.

Centea, T. and Hubert, P. 2014. “Out-of-autoclave prepreg consolidation under deficient pressure

conditions”. Journal of Composite Materials, 48(16): 2033–2045.

Heinecke, F. and Willberg, C. 2019. “Manufacturing-Induced Imperfections in Composite Parts

Manufactured via Automated Fiber Placement.” Journal of Composites Science, 3(2), 56.

Mooney, M. 1940. “A theory of large elastic deformation.” Journal of Applied Physics, 11(9):


RIVLIN, R. S. 1948. “Large elastic deformations of isotropic materials IV. further developments of

the general theory.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A,

Mathematical and Physical Sciences, 241(835): 379–397.

Belnoue, J. P. H. and Hallett, S. R. 2020. “A rapid multi-scale design tool for the prediction of

wrinkle defect formation in composite components.” Materials and Design, 187(2020) 108388.

Belhaj, M. and Hojjati, M. 2018. “Wrinkle formation during steering in automated fiber placement:

Modeling and experimental verification.” Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites,

(6): 396–409.

Oakley, J. E. and O’Hagan, A. 2004. “Probabilistic sensitivity analysis of complex models: A

Bayesian approach.” Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series B: Statistical Methodology,

(3): 751-769.


  • There are currently no refbacks.