Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis


Computer Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Ramy Harik


Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) is a flexible but complex manufacturing technique which is used to layup carbon fiber tows into flat or curved structures. That could be achieved through linear and steered paths of fibers. The quality of AFP layup is highly dependent on the manufacturing process parameters such as layup temperature, tow feedrate, compaction force, and tow tension. Understanding how those parameters affect the process is crucial for achieving the desirable quality and productivity. For this work, an experimental investigation is carried out to determine the processing window that yields optimal quality for two types of material: High tack thermoset prepreg, and low tack thermoset prepreg. The project is split into two tasks. For the first task, experiments are carried out on linear paths to determine the effects of the parameters on substrate to tool adhesion as well as the substrate to substrate adhesion. A design of experiment is developed to cover a wide range of permutations to experimentally find the optimal process window. The second task investigates the quality of steered paths as function of the parameters at different steering radii. The quality of a steered path is governed by the critical curvature radius, which is the minimum radius allowed before the formation of wrinkles or other defects. However, this radius has been found to be dependent on the process parameters and thus by changing those parameters a higher curvature can be achieved. Data acquisition is performed using different sensors, to obtain the necessary information about the process to infer the relations between the quality and the parameters.