The majority of the braided products produced by A&P are customized solutions created by A&P's application engineers working hand in hand with fabricators and end users. Customizing reinforcements for specific applications optimizes the performance and the manufacture of composite parts. A&P's engineers help make parts better with braid — braid designed specifically to meet our customers' requirements. Several examples of tailored solutions are shown below. In each instance, a custom braid was designed to solve unique application requirements.
Hybridizing material types within a braided reinforcement is sometimes chosen as a means of saving costs, increasing specific performance criteria, and in some cases, simply for aesthetics. By selectively locating areas for specialized reinforcement, a one layer fabric can optimize specific property requirements.
Carbon axials were selectively located for layup of a stiffener. This unique combination of fiberglass and carbon within a single layer of reinforcement optimizes the structural performance and reduces manufacturing and material costs.
This single layer, quasi-isotropic braid has alternating glass and carbon fibers in the biaxial and axial positions and is used in composite tooling where dimensional control and heat transfer are critical.
Read more about Quasi-Isotropic Braid
To maximize ease of layup and optimize performance, a combination of biaxial and triaxial architecures in a single layer can be designed to have drape where needed and locate axial reinforcement where needed.
This flange is created with a braid that has a triaxial architecture and a biaxial architecture within a single layer. The triax region is stable and provides a consistent layup, while the biax region conforms to the changing radius of the flange.
With A&P's braiding machinery all individual tow bundles are controlled independently, so if constant thickness is required on a part with changing cross- sections, the fiber angles of the individual tows can be changed without interrupting the braiding process, or if constant angle is desired the same can be achieved. Or like in the case of the stator vane pictured below, varying angles along the length of the part can optimize local stiffness and thicknesses.
"Drop and shoot" stator vane perform braided to fit the shape of the mold exactly. The inner layer has varying axial content to control the leading and trailing edge thicknesses.
A&P's braiding machinery accommodates the exact placement of fibers on mandrels up to 100" in diameter, 15 feet in length with 5 axes of machine control, the option of adding circumferential winding and the ability to incorporate controlled ply drops. Overbraiding enables consistent, automated part-to-part layup.
A&P's overbraiding cell called "Mantis"
Circumferential Winding is combined with the braiding process to help with debulking.
Laser projection allows for exact, consistent placement of ply drops.
Braided Fillets or "Noodles" are preformed, triangular shaped braids designed to fill resin rich areas. A&P's noodles are tailored net shape radius fillers.
Curved braids are designed to allow the axial fibers to follow the curvature of the part allowing for swept or curved shaped parts with no cuts or pleating. Braids can be designed to meet the requirements for a range of curved shapes, including those with a small degree of sweep to those with tight radii.
Initially developed and put into production for composite fan cases, braided fabrics designed to accommodate part contour allow for a consistent and repeatable layup for all bodies of revolution.The contour is created as the braid forms on product specific tooling and is locked in place by the triaxial architecture.The fiber orientation, directional content and localized regions of different materials can be altered as the architecture is optimized.