Efficient Lightweight Structures by Thermoplastic Composites

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klemens Rother
Institute for Materials and Building Research, IMB
Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, Aircraft Engineering
Laboratory for Mathematics and Technical Mechanics

Within the framework of the research cooperation with Stanford University, Prof. em. Steve Tsai, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klemens Rother at Munich University of Applied Sciences develops new methods for the dimensioning, design and production of continuous fiber reinforced plastics in an international consortium. A special design with high potential for strength, stiffness, cost reduction and lightweight construction are so-called "skin/grid structures", i.e. panels reinforced with crossed ribs.

Click here for the project page Innovative Design and Manufacturing for Fiber Reinforced Plastic Components .

Up to now the work has been limited to thermoset matrix materials with carbon fibers. For thermoplastic materials, high warpage poses great challenges for the production of these structures. At Concordia University an interested and suitable partner could be found in the Dept. of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Eng., who has the necessary laboratory equipment and experience in the field of fiber reinforced thermoplastic materials and manufacturing processes with Automated Fiber Placement.

Supported by a Mitacs Globalink Research Award, a research grant in Canada at Concordia University in Montreal was financed and made possible for a master student of the Computational Engineering course at our university. In the project ELSTec : Efficient Lightweight Structures by Thermoplastic Composites, both the manufacturing and the process simulation of the production of ribbed panels with endless fiber tapes (PEEK with endless carbon fibers) and the Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) were treated.

In addition to the first production of a low-warpage prototype structure (see figure), the process simulation of the AFP process of thermoplastic fiber tapes was also dealt with. Especially in this field, extensive research activities are planned.

This research will be continued cooperatively within the framework of a Ph.D. project from autumn 2020.

Head of the AFP robot and a low-distortion automatically manufactured skin/grid structure with thermoplastic matrix PEEK and
Head of the AFP robot and a low-distortion automatically manufactured skin/grid structure with thermoplastic matrix PEEK and "endless" carbon fibers, (Picture: Lorenz Zacherl)

Running duration:
November 2019 – April 2020 - ongoing

Funded by:
Mitacs Globalink Research Award

Project Partners:
Prof. Suong Van Hoa
Prof. Farjad Shadmehri
Dept. of Mechancial, Industrial and Aerospace Eng.
Concordia University, Montreal, Canada


Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klemens Rother
Room: R 4.059

Tel.: 089 1265-3348
Fax: 089 1265-3308

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