Filament Winding

Filament winding is a fabrication technique mainly used for manufacturing open (cylinders) or closed end structures (pressure vessels or tanks). This process involves winding filaments under tension over a rotating mandrel. The mandrel rotates around the spindle (Axis 1 or X: Spindle) while a delivery eye on a carriage (Axis 2 or Y: Horizontal) traverses horizontally in line with the axis of the rotating mandrel, laying down fibers in the desired pattern or angle. The most common filaments are glass or carbon and are impregnated in a bath with resin as they are wound onto the mandrel. Once the mandrel is completely covered to the desired thickness, the resin is cured. Depending on the resin system and its cure characteristics, often the rotating mandrel is placed in an oven or placed under radiant heaters until the part is cured. Once the resin has cured, the mandrel is removed or extracted, leaving the hollow final product. For some products such as gas bottles, the 'mandrel' is a permanent part of the finished product forming a liner to prevent gas leakage or as a barrier to protect the composite from the fluid to be stored. Filament winding is well suited to automation, and there are many applications, such as pipe and small pressure vessel that are wound and cured without any human intervention. The controlled variables for winding are fibre type, resin content, wind angle, tow or bandwidth and thickness of the fiber bundle. The angle at which the fibre is wound has an effect on the properties of the final product. A high angle "hoop" will provide circumferential strength, while lower angle patterns (either polar or helical) will provide greater longitudinal / axial tensile strength. Products currently being produced using this technique range from pipes, golf clubs, Reverse Osmosis Membrane Housings, oars, bicycle forks, bicycle rims, power and transmission poles, pressure vessels to missile casings, aircraft fuselages and lamp posts and yacht masts.
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