To investigate the potential for aerospace structures made out-of-autoclave (OOA), an OOA variable stiffness, unitized, integrated-stiffener thermoplastic wingbox demonstrator has recently been built at the University of Limerick. For this purpose a number of different techniques had to be combined: fibre steering to achieve the variable stiffness skin, the stiffeners had to be connected to the wingbox, and as manufacturing methodology Laser-assisted tape placement in combination with winding was used. A complete overview of the manufacturing and quality assurance is given. Three components are investigated in more detail. One, the fibre steered sections which lead to load redistribution, improving the overall load-carrying capability. Two, the connection between skin and stiffener, allowing for a unitized manufacturing of the wingbox. Three, the corners which are another crucial point of the structure. Each of these points can help improve the future manufacture of thermoplastic composite structures as primary structural parts for aerospace applications.
Thermoplastics, Out-of-autoclave, Unified, Variable Stiffness