Michael J. Hoke, president of Abaris Training Resources, Inc. in Reno, Nev., conducted two hands-on demonstrations on advanced composite structural repair techniques for carbon fiber automotive structures at the SEMA Show, held Nov. 3-6 in Las Vegas.
The 30-minute demonstrations, titled “Abaris: Carbon Fiber Repair,” were held in cooperation with I-CAR and included discussion on basic damage assessment and removal methods along with an overview of basic repair principles for regaining structural integrity in a damaged carbon fiber reinforced composite panel.
The presentations, held on both Wednesday and Thursday afternoon of the show, were intended to walk the attendees through each step in the composite damage repair process, providing insight into how repairs can easily be done to carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) structures using common industry methods and techniques learned from aerospace.
First, the attendees saw a brief PowerPoint presentation showing initial repair steps on impact damage on a carbon fiber sandwich panel with Nomex honeycomb core. These slides showed the damage removal and taper-scarfing operations prior to the replacement of the damaged honeycomb core. This was followed by a hands-on live demonstration of laying up an adhesive film layer followed by four carbon fiber repair plies, one at a time, matching the axial orientation of the actual damaged structure.
The repair layup was followed by the application of a “bleeder schedule” and actual vacuum bagging of the repair so everyone could see how that process was performed. This was accompanied by a brief discussion of the purpose of the vacuum bagging process and cure cycle requirements for the epoxy resin. A pre-made repair panel was then displayed so that the attendees could see the resulting flush carbon fiber repair.