(19)
(11)EP 2 929 999 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
04.12.2019 Bulletin 2019/49

(21)Application number: 15169270.4

(22)Date of filing:  21.10.2013
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B29B 11/16(2006.01)
F01D 25/24(2006.01)

(54)

MANUFACTURE OF STIFFENERS FOR COMPOSITE FANCASES

HERSTELLUNGSVERFAHREN VON VERSTEIFUNGEN FÜR ZUSAMMENGESETZTE LÜFTERGEHÄUSE

FABRICATION DE RAIDISSEURS PÉRIPHÉRIQUES POUR ENCEINTES DE VENTILATEUR COMPOSITES


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 23.10.2012 US 201213658578

(43)Date of publication of application:
14.10.2015 Bulletin 2015/42

(62)Application number of the earlier application in accordance with Art. 76 EPC:
13785762.9 / 2911851

(73)Proprietor: Albany Engineered Composites, Inc.
Rochester, NH 03867 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • Goering, Jonathan
    York, ME 03909 (US)

(74)Representative: Alatis 
109 Bd Haussmann
75008 Paris
75008 Paris (FR)


(56)References cited: : 
FR-A1- 2 968 364
US-A1- 2012 099 981
JP-A- 2012 016 926
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


    Field of the Invention



    [0001] The present invention relates to circumferential stiffeners for composite preforms, and more particularly for manufacturing preforms that may be processed to form fancase preforms for jet aircraft engines.

    Background of the Invention



    [0002] The use of reinforced composite materials to produce structural components is now widespread, particularly in applications where their desirable characteristics are sought, including being light in weight, strong, tough, thermally resistant, self-supporting and adaptable to being formed and shaped.

    [0003] In this regard, contour woven preforms are used to provide fiber reinforcement in resin transfer molded articles, for example fancases for jet engines. Such preforms are engineered to have a specific cross-sectional shape when they are wound onto an appropriately sized mandrel. These shapes can generally be described as a variable thickness barrel section with an integral flange at either end.

    [0004] Typically, such preforms consist of fabrics which are woven from materials such as glass, carbon, ceramic, aramid, polyethylene, and/or other materials which exhibit desired physical, thermal, chemical and/or other properties, chief among which is great strength against stress failure. Through the use of such fabrics, which ultimately become a constituent element of the completed composite article, the composite preform imparts the desired characteristics of the fabrics, such as very high strength, into the completed composite article. Usually particular attention is paid to ensure the optimum utilization of the properties for which the fabrics have been selected.

    [0005] After the desired preform has been constructed, a molding or densifying operation takes place where a resin matrix material may be introduced to and into the woven preform, so that typically the preform becomes encased in the resin matrix material that fills the interstitial areas between the constituent elements of the preform. The resin matrix material may be any of a wide variety of materials, such as epoxy, phenolic, polyester, vinyl-ester, ceramic, carbon and/or other materials, which also exhibit desired physical, thermal, chemical and/or other properties. The materials chosen for use as the resin matrix may or may not be the same as that of the reinforcement preform and may or may not have comparable physical, chemical, thermal or other properties. Typically, however, they will not be of the same materials or have comparable physical, chemical, thermal or other properties, since a usual objective sought in using composites in the first place is to achieve a combination of characteristics in the finished product that is not attainable through the use of one constituent material alone. So combined, the woven preform and the matrix material may then be cured and stabilized in the same operation by thermosetting or other known methods, and then subjected to other operations toward producing the desired component. It is significant to note at this point that after being so cured, the then solidified mass of the matrix material normally is very strongly adhered to the reinforcing material (e.g., the woven preform). As a result, stress on the finished component, particularly via its matrix material acting as an adhesive between fibers, may be effectively transferred to and borne by the constituent material of the preform.

    [0006] Fancases for jet engines, such as the example shown in Fig. 1, using contour woven preforms that provide fiber reinforcement, and then impregnated for example by resin transfer molding, are already known in the art. Use of this type of preform offers several advantages, some of which are: provide continuous fiber in the circumferential and axial directions; minimize touch labor through the elimination of cutting and darting; and minimize process waste by eliminating the need for cutting and darting.

    [0007] FR 2 968 364 dislcoses a blower provided with a casing. An external ring of an intermediate casing forms a monoblock single piece made of composite material with the casing of the blower. The external ring is directly connected to outlet guide vanes located in downstream of revolving paddles of the blower. A radial stiffener is arranged on external perimeter of the single piece. The stiffener comprises a fixing point of secondary equipments. A deviation edge of a thrust reverser is integrated in the single piece.

    [0008] US 2012/099981 discloses an aeroengine fan casing made of composite material comprising fiber reinforcement densified by a matrix. The casing is secured to at least one ring or ring sector that is situated on the inside face of the casing and that is mechanically connected to an equipment fastener part that is situated on the outside face of the casing, in particular for fastening an accessory gearbox.

    Summary of the Invention



    [0009] However, while current woven preforms are adequate for many applications, there are situations in which a fancase requires additional circumferential or axial stiffeners at one or more axial locations. Therefore, it would be an advancement in the state of the art to provide a contour woven preform enhanced with intermediate circumferential stiffeners that are used to improve the strength and/or dynamic performance of the preform. When used for a fancase, such stiffeners may also serve as attachment points for the fancase itself or for attaching auxiliary equipment. This disclosure describes several improved preform assemblies that include circumferential stiffeners, as well as methods of manufacturing the same.

    [0010] A method of manufacturing a woven fancase according to the invention comprises the steps defined in claim 1. Additional steps are defined in claims 2 to 6. Other methods of manufacturing a woven fancase according to the invention comprise the steps defined in one of claims 7 to 9.

    Brief Description of the Drawings



    [0011] The accompanying drawings, which are included to provide a further understanding of the invention, are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification. The drawings presented herein illustrate different embodiments of the invention and together with the description serve to explain the principles of the invention. In the drawings:

    Fig. 1 shows a known prior art fancase fabricated using a contour woven fiber preform;

    Fig. 2 shows a schematic of a known prior art contour woven fancase preform;

    Fig. 3 shows an assembly of contour woven stiffeners added to a woven preform according to an embodiment which is not part of the invention;

    Fig. 4 shows stiffeners formed by combining multiple sub-preforms with the woven preform according to an embodiment of the invention;

    Fig. 5 shows multiple stiffeners in a single sub-preform formed according to an embodiment of the invention;

    Fig. 6 shows an integral stiffener formed by bifurcating the outermost layer of the outermost wrap of one of the multi-layer fabrics used to form a woven preform according to an embodiment which is not part of the invention; and

    Fig. 7 shows various shapes of woven preforms that may be produced according to the embodiment of the present invention.


    Detailed Description of the Preferred Embodiments



    [0012] The instant invention will now be described more fully hereinafter with reference to the accompanying drawings, in which preferred embodiments of the invention are shown. This invention may, however, be embodied in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the illustrated embodiments set forth herein. Rather, these illustrated embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey the scope of the invention to those skilled in the art.

    [0013] In the following description, like reference characters designate like or corresponding parts throughout the figures. Additionally, in the following description, it is understood that such terms as "upper," "lower," "top" and "bottom" and the like are words of convenience and are not to be construed as limiting terms.

    [0014] As described herein, circumferential stiffeners are incorporated into an assembly of woven preforms, often suitable for use as composite fancases for jet engines, which are generally cylindrical or substantially "barrel shaped". While the assembly of woven preforms is described as "barrel-shaped", the preforms are generally configured as a cylinder with a cylinder wall that may bulge out, bulge in, or may bulge out in some areas and bulge in at others, such as those shown in Fig. 7, for example. Throughout this disclosure, the terms barrel, barrel-shaped, and variations there of, are used in accordance with this description of the variations in the preform shape.

    [0015] In other words, the fancases have a center line and the woven preform assemblies, also comprising the circumferential stiffeners, make a circumference around the center line of an appropriately designed mandrel for fabrication of the fancase. These stiffeners provide increased strength to the fancase and can also provide attachment points for mounting other pieces of equipment to the fancase by, for example, bolting such equipment to the circumferential stiffener. Additionally, such stiffeners may also be used for mounting the fancase to, for example, structural components. The assembly of woven preforms with circumferential stiffeners may be useful as fancase preforms for jet aircraft engines.

    [0016] Turning to the figures, Fig. 1 shows a prior art fancase (100) fabricated using a known contour woven fiber preform. The fancase (100) of Fig. 1 includes a substantially barrel-shaped body (101). The barrel-shaped body (101) may include barrel sections of variable thickness. At either end of the barrel-shaped body (101) are integral flanges (102) and (103) that are formed from the woven preform. The path of the warp fibers (running in the circumferential direction) are engineered to have the proper lengths in the final shaped configuration without the need for cutting and darting. These integral flanges provide circumferential stiffening of the preform. However, while the fancase (100) of Fig. 1 is adequate for many applications, there are also times where it is desirable or necessary to incorporate additional circumferential stiffeners at one or more axial locations. Such additional circumferential stiffeners are used to improve the strength and/or dynamic performance of the fancase. Additionally, circumferential stiffeners may serve as attachment points, for example for auxiliary equipment.

    [0017] Fig. 2 is a schematic, or partial cross-section of a prior art fancase preform, like that of Fig. 1, which exemplifies current technology. For convenience, only one half of the preform is shown and the barrel section is illustrated with a constant thickness. In Fig. 2, a cross section of the preform is shown consisting of four continuous wraps (202), (203), (204), and (205) of woven fabric that trace a circumference around centerline (201) of an appropriately designed mandrel. In other words, in Fig. 2 the end of the first wrap (202) connects to the beginning of the second wrap (203), the end of the second wrap (203) connects to the beginning of the third wrap (204), the end of the third wrap (204) connects to the beginning of the fourth wrap (205), etc. Additionally, this fabric does not have to be a uniform thickness and the body (101) of the preform between the flanges (102), (103) does not have to be cylindrical (e.g., can be substantially barrel-shaped or other shapes shown in Fig. 7, for example). While Fig. 2 shows four wraps of this continuous woven fabric, a final preform may have any number of wraps.

    [0018] Typically, the fabrics used for such preforms are woven on a loom fitted with a special takeup system that allows warp fibers to have different lengths. The warp fibers are in the circumferential direction of the fancase. The paths of the warp fibers are engineered to have the proper lengths in the final shaped configuration without the usual need for any cutting and/or darting, resulting in a contour woven fabric. The fabric may be single-layer or multi-layer.

    [0019] Fibers or yarns typically used to weave the fabrics for such preforms may comprise one or more materials selected from the group consisting of aramid, carbon, nylon, rayon, polyester, and glass fiber.

    [0020] Embodiments of the invention may be useful in the fabrication of fancases for jet engines, typically used in aircraft. In the following discussion, the preform assembly may be referred to as a fancase preform as an illustrative use for the inventive preform assembly, not as a limitation. One of ordinary skill in the art will recognize other uses for the disclosed woven preform assemblies which would take advantage of the enhanced performance characteristics provided by the inventive preform assembly.

    [0021] An embodiment which is not part of the invention provides a preform assembly by a method of adding additional circumferential stiffeners to a contour woven preform assembly. In this embodiment, layers of woven fabric are wrapped around an appropriately designed mandrel to form a fancase preform like that shown in Fig. 2. An example of this is shown schematically in Fig. 3, which also depicts two single- or multi-layer woven fabrics at least partially wrapped around the circumference of the wraps of the contour woven fabric, forming circumferential stiffeners (301) and (302). The quantity, relative shapes, and sizes of such woven circumferential stiffeners are not intended to be limited by the exemplary schematic in Fig. 3. The individual circumferential stiffeners need not be similar in shape or size to one another. Also, the body (101) of the preform between the flanges (102), (103) does not have to be cylindrical and can have a substantially barrel shape (101). It can also be of non-uniform thickness.

    [0022] The woven fabric used to form the stiffeners (301), (302) may be a contour woven fabric in which the length of the warp fibers can be varied across the width of the fabric. The varied lengths are engineered to allow the stiffener to be positioned in its final shaped configuration.

    [0023] In other embodiments, the fabric used to form the stiffeners (301), (302) is composed of stretch broken (SB) fibers in at least the warp (circumferential) direction of the stiffener. However, these SB fibers, for example, carbon, may also be used in the weft (axial) direction, or both. The stretch broken fibers also allow the stiffener to be positioned in its final shaped configuration.

    [0024] The circumferential stiffeners (301), (302) may be built up using multiple wraps of a single-layer fabric, or perhaps a lesser number of wraps when using a multi-layer woven fabric. Regardless of this, the circumferential stiffeners can be wound onto/over the dry base preform already on the mandrel and co-molded, or they can be wound onto a molded fancase preform already on the mandrel and molded in a secondary operation forming the final composite.

    [0025] The circumferential stiffeners (301), (302) may include lengths of additional woven material that is inserted between the layers of the woven fabric if desirable, as it is wound about the circumference of the preform base such that the yarns of the inserted material are at an angle of orientation (on a bias) to the yarns of the fabric layers forming the stiffeners. Such "bias" fabrics could also be inserted between the wraps of fabric (202-205) as they are wound about the mandrel. Furthermore, additional through-thickness reinforcement of the preform assembly can be provided by, for example, T-forming, tufting, or stitching through the stiffeners themselves and/or to attach the stiffener layers (301, 302) to the preform layers (202-205) prior to molding and resin impregnation. The circumferential stiffeners (301), (302) may extend only partially around the circumference of the fancase preform (100). Partially extending stiffeners (301), (302) may also be T-formed, tufted, or stitched through the layers themselves or onto the dry base fancase preform prior to molding to provide through thickness reinforcement to the body (101) of the preform (100).

    [0026] In addition, the stiffeners can be complete circumferential rings, or they may be only arc segments that do not wrap around the full circumference of the preform, or they may be a combination of complete circumferential rings and arc segments. For example, arc segments are a beneficial option when the circumferential stiffeners are used for equipment mounting points that do not require full circumferential rings. In this case, the preform assembly will also comprise sections of the woven fabric that are cut to length and may be stacked on top of one another, to the extent necessary, to build up the thickness of the arc segment.

    [0027] Thus, the circumferential stiffeners can be multiple wraps of a single-layer fabric, multiple wraps of a multi-layer fabric, full circumferential rings, partial stiffeners (i.e., arcs), and they may be wound onto the circumferential surface of the contour woven base preform, with or without T-forming, tufting or stitching, and co-molded. Alternately they may be wound onto the circumferential surface of the already molded preform base, and molded in a secondary operation forming the final composite. Different fabrics may also be selected for each circumferential stiffener, and the fabrics forming the circumferential stiffeners and the base preform need not be the same type of fabric. Additionally, the fabrics used do not have to be a uniform thickness, but may have thicker or thinner regions as required.

    [0028] An embodiment of a composite fancase with additional circumferential stiffeners according to the invention is shown in Fig. 4, which shows an exemplary embodiment that uses several woven sub-preforms, each of which may include one or more wraps around an appropriately designed mandrel. The woven sub-preforms are formed from contour woven fabric. In Fig. 4, the first sub-preform includes wraps (202) and (203) of a contour woven fabric around an appropriately designed mandrel. Outer sub-preforms include multiple wraps of woven fabrics as demonstrated by a second sub-preform including wraps (401) and (402), a third sub-preform including wraps (403) and (404), and a fourth sub-preform including wraps (405) and (406).

    [0029] All of the sub-preforms are fabricated and combined to make the final fancase preform assembly. Each of these sub-preforms consists of a base section with integral flanges and/or stiffeners at either end. An integral stiffener is one whose layer or layers have through fibers connecting it to the base. An intermediate stiffener is located in one or more locations between the end flanges. Intermediate stiffeners may be integral or not. The number of wraps used for any or all of the sub-preforms can be varied, and are not intended to be limited by the exemplary schematic shown in Fig. 4. Similarly, the relative shapes and sizes of such contour woven fabric sub-preforms are not intended to be limited by the exemplary schematic in Fig. 4. Additionally, the woven fabrics used do not have to be a uniform thickness, but may have thicker or thinner regions as desired. Also, the body (101) of the preform between the flanges (102), (103) does not have to be perfectly cylindrical (e.g., can be substantially barrel-shaped or any shape shown in Fig. 7, for example) or of uniform thickness. Different fabrics may also be selected for each sub-preform.

    [0030] In this embodiment, the first sub-preform containing wraps (202) and (203) is very similar to the basic preform shown in Fig. 2, except that it does not have as many wraps and only accounts for part of the full thickness of the preform. Two or more other sub-preforms, called outer sub-preforms-such as those in Fig. 4 that include wraps (401) and (402), wraps (403) and (404), and wraps (405) and (406)-are wound over the first sub-preform that includes wraps (202) and (203). Thus, the combination of all of the sub-preforms completes the full thickness of the substantially barrel-shaped body (101) of the preform assembly, as well as the thickness of the integral flanges (102) and (103) that are formed by those sub-preforms whose integral flanges are aligned on an outer edge. The other integral flanges of these sub-preforms combine to make the integral stiffeners (407) and (408) that are disposed between the integral flanges (102) and (103) on the barrel-shaped body (101) of the preform assembly. Circumferential stiffeners like those described in the first embodiment and illustrated in Fig. 3 may also be incorporated into this embodiment.

    [0031] Lengths of woven material (not shown) may be placed between the integral flanges of any of the sub-preforms illustrated, for example, in Fig. 4. For example, one or more lengths of woven material may be placed between the integral flanges formed by wraps 405 and 406 in one outer sub-preform. One or more lengths of woven material may also be placed between wraps 403 and 405 of adjacent outer sub-preforms, or between wrap 405 and integral flange 103 of the first sub-preform, or between flange 102 and wrap 401. These reinforcement layers therefore can be placed between the layers of any of the wraps 101-406, and within any of the layers forming the flanges 102, 103, 407, and 408. These additional woven layers are inserted such that the yarns of the inserted material are at an angle of orientation greater than 0 degrees and less than 90 degrees (i.e., on a bias) to the yarns of the fabric layers forming the stiffeners or sub-preforms. Furthermore, additional through-thickness reinforcement of the preform assembly can be provided by, for example, T-forming, tufting, or stitching through the stiffeners (407-408) and the bias fabrics themselves, the flange layers (102-103), and/or to attach the stiffener layers to the preform layers (202-203) prior to molding and resin impregnation. The fabrics forming the stiffeners may alternatively be wound or placed onto the circumferential surface of the already molded preform base, and molded in a secondary operation, forming the final composite.

    [0032] The widths of the base sections for each sub-preform and outer sub-preforms can be designed to position the integral stiffeners at their desired axial locations. One or more integral stiffeners can be formed, based on the number of outer sub-preforms used. Additionally, and similar to the previous embodiments, all of the sub-preforms can be assembled and molded in one operation. Alternately, the outermost sub-preforms can be wrapped or placed onto the circumference of a molded base preform already on a mandrel and molded in a secondary operation forming the final composite.

    [0033] An additional embodiment of the invention is shown in Fig. 5. In this non-limiting example, the base preform is a sub-preform that includes three wraps (202), (203), and (204) about an appropriately designed mandrel of a single-layer or multi-layer contour woven fabric with flanges at each end. An additional wrap, called the intermediate stiffener wrap, forms a sub-preform (501) which incorporates one or more intermediate stiffeners (502) and (503). The intermediate stiffener wrap is incorporated into a single fabric that provides the last wrap of the complete preform. Sub-preform 501 is formed from a contour woven fabric. This sub-preform (501) is wound onto the base sub-preform wraps (202), (203), and (204)-which generally provide the majority of the material for the preform assembly-and thus completes the preform. The quantity, relative shapes, and sizes of such intermediate stiffeners are not intended to be limited by the exemplary schematic in Fig. 5.

    [0034] Lengths of woven material (not shown) may be placed between the integral flanges of the sub-preform 501 and the flanges of the barrel shaped body 101 as illustrated, for example, in Fig. 5. For example, one or more lengths of woven material may be placed between the integral flanges formed in the intermediate stiffener wrap preform 501 and flange layer 102 of the barrel shaped body 101. Similarly, one or more lengths of woven material may be placed between the integral flanges formed in the intermediate stiffener wrap preform 501 and flange layer 103 of the body 101. In some embodiments, one or more lengths of woven material may also be placed within the folds of one or more intermediate stiffeners (502) and (503).

    [0035] These additional woven layers are inserted such that the yarns of the inserted material are at an angle of orientation greater than 0 degrees and less than 90 degrees (i.e., on a bias) to the yarns of the fabric layers forming the flanges or stiffeners. Furthermore, additional through-thickness reinforcement of the preform assembly can be provided by, for example, T-forming, tufting, or stitching through the intermediate stiffeners (502,503) and the woven fabrics themselves, the flange layers (102-103), and/or attach the stiffener layers to the preform layers (202-203) prior to molding and resin impregnation. The fabrics forming the stiffeners may alternatively be wound or placed onto the circumferential surface of the already molded preform base, and molded in a secondary operation forming the final composite.

    [0036] The number of wraps used for sub-preform can be varied, and are not intended to be limited by the exemplary schematic shown in Fig. 5. Additionally, the fabrics used do not have to be a uniform thickness, but may have thicker or thinner regions as desired. Also, the body (101) of the preform between the flanges (102), (103) does not have to be perfectly cylindrical, but can be substantially barrel-shaped. Circumferential stiffeners like those described in the first embodiment may also be incorporated into this embodiment.

    [0037] Another embodiment which is not part of the invention is illustrated in Fig. 6, which introduces a bifurcation (603) of the outermost layer of the outermost wrap (602) of the multi-layer woven fabric. As with the prior art embodiment in Fig. 2, the preform is constructed with a number of continuous wraps of woven fabric (607) that is wrapped one or more times about an appropriately designed mandrel to construct the preform assembly (608). Fig. 6 shows four wraps of fabric starting with an innermost wrap (601), intermediate wraps (609) and (610), and an outermost wrap (602). The outermost wrap (602) includes bifurcated portions (604) and (605) that are formed in the outer layer of the outermost wrap. The outer layer of the outermost wrap may be bifurcated in the warp direction. The bifurcated layer of said outer surface layer is then folded up to make a circumferential stiffener. The circumferential stiffener can act as an attachment point for bolting a piece of equipment to the molded preform assembly when used as a fancase, as an example. The stiffener may encompass only an arc segment around the circumference (606), or the wrap may be formed long enough to allow a full circumferential ring round the fancase preform.

    [0038] The bifurcation (603) may also be made in the weft direction, in a manner that allows for axial stiffeners or attachment points as well. In such a case, the bifurcation would be made in the weft, rather than the warp, direction of the single-layer or multi-layer fabric. As above, the outermost layer is folded up to make an axial stiffener.

    [0039] The number of wraps used can be varied, and are not intended to be limited by the exemplary schematic shown in Fig. 6. Additionally, the fabrics used do not have to be a uniform thickness, but may have thicker or thinner regions as required. Also, the body (e.g., (101) in Fig. 2) of the preform created with the embodiment shown in Fig. 6 that is between the flanges (e.g., (102) and (103) in Fig. 2) does not have to be perfectly cylindrical, but can be substantially barrel-shaped. Nor does it have to be of uniform thickness. Circumferential stiffeners like those described in the first embodiment may also be incorporated into this embodiment.

    [0040] Lengths of woven material (not shown) may be placed between the bifurcated portions (604, 605) when the bifurcated portions are folded to form a stiffener as illustrated in Fig. 6. For example, one or more lengths of woven material may be placed between the bifurcated portions (604, 605) as illustrated in section A-A of Fig. 6. These additional woven layers are inserted such that the yarns of the inserted material are at an angle of orientation greater than 0 degrees and less than 90 degrees (i.e., on a bias) to the yarns of the bifurcated fabric layers forming the stiffeners. Furthermore, additional through-thickness reinforcement of the preform assembly can be provided by, for example, T-forming, tufting, or stitching through the stiffeners (604, 605) and the woven fabrics themselves, prior to molding and resin impregnation. The assembly is then molded into the final composite.

    [0041] In all the embodiments, once the preform assembly is formed, resin is infused into the preform assembly (in one or two steps as indicated) by one of the methods known to those skilled in the art, and cured. The infusion of resin, known as a molding or densifying operation, introduces a matrix material to and into the woven preform, so that the resin matrix fills, or substantially fills, the interstitial areas between the components of the preform, encasing the components and the preform. The resin matrix material may be any of a wide variety of materials, such as epoxy, phenolic, polyester, vinyl-ester, ceramic, carbon and/or other materials, which also exhibit desired physical, thermal, chemical and/or other properties. The materials chosen for use as the resin matrix may or may not be the same as that of the reinforcement preform and may or may not have comparable physical, chemical, thermal or other properties. Following the molding process, the composite is then removed from the mandrel, and any finishing operations, such as trimming or polishing, etc., are performed.

    [0042] Thus, by the present invention, its objects and advantages are realized, and although preferred embodiments have been disclosed and described in detail herein, its scope and objects should not be limited thereby; rather its scope should be determined by that of the appended claims.


    Claims

    1. A method of manufacturing a woven fancase comprising the steps of:

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (202, 203) around a centerline (201) one or more times to form a preform base having a circumferential base surface around said centerline with a first flange (102) formed on a first edge of the base surface and a second flange (103) formed on a second edge of the base surface;

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (401, 402) about the centerline to form a first sub-preform stiffener with a first sub-preform stiffener base around said contour woven fabric (202, 203), the first sub-preform stiffener having a first sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base and a first sub-preform stiffener flange on a second edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base so that said first sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base abuts the first flange (102) and the first sub-preform stiffener base abuts said circumferential base surface ; and

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (405, 406) about the centerline to form a second sub-preform stiffener with a second sub-preform stiffener base around said contour woven fabric (202, 203), the second sub-preform stiffener having a second sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the second sub-preform stiffener base and a second sub-preform stiffener flange on a second edge of the second sub-preform stiffener base so that said second sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the second sub-preform stiffener base abuts the second flange (103) and the second sub-preform stiffener base abuts said circumferential base surface,

    wherein the first sub-preform stiffener flange on the second edge abuts the second sub-preform stiffener flange on the second edge.


     
    2. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of:
    stitching one or more said sub-preform stiffeners to said contour woven fabric.
     
    3. The method of claim 1, further comprising the step of:
    molding said contour woven fabric after it is wrapped one or more times around a centerline to form said circumference around the centerline.
     
    4. The method of claim 3, further comprising the step of:
    co-molding one or more said sub-preform stiffeners with said contour woven fabric after it is wrapped one or more times around the centerline.
     
    5. The method of claim 3, further comprising the step of:
    molding said sub-preform stiffeners onto said molded contour woven fabric.
     
    6. The method of claim 1, wherein the first sub-preform and the second sub-preform are each partially wrapped around said circumferential base surface.
     
    7. A method of manufacturing a woven fancase comprising the steps of:

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (202, 203) one or more times around a centerline (201) to form a first preform base having a circumferential base surface around said centerline with a first flange (102) formed on a first edge of said base surface that forms a first edge circumference around said centerline and a second flange (103) formed on a second edge of the base surface that forms a second edge circumference around said centerline;

    wrapping two or more sub-preforms around said first preform base, wherein each sub-preform has a first sub-preform flange formed on a first edge of the sub-preform and forms a first edge circumference around said centerline and a second sub-preform flange formed on a second edge of said sub-preform to form a second edge circumference around said centerline; and

    forming intermediate stiffeners between said first flange and said second flange by aligning each adjacent sub-preform flange so that such adjacent sub-preform flanges are in contact with each other.


     
    8. A method of manufacturing a woven preform comprising the steps of:

    wrapping a contour woven fabric one or more times around a centerline to form a sub-preform circumferential surface around said centerline, wherein said sub-preform has a first integral flange disposed on a first edge of said woven fabric that forms a first edge circumference around said centerline and a second integral flange disposed on a second edge of said woven fabric that forms a second edge circumference around said centerline;

    forming the contour woven fabric to form intermediate stiffeners in an intermediate stiffener wrap; and

    wrapping said intermediate stiffener wrap around said sub-preform.


     
    9. A method of manufacturing a woven fancase comprising:

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (202, 203) around a centerline (201) one or more times to form a preform base having a circumferential base surface around said centerline with a first flange (102) formed on a first edge of the base surface and a second flange (103) formed on a second edge of the base surface;

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (401, 402) about the centerline to form a first sub-preform stiffener with a first sub-preform stiffener base around said contour woven fabric (202, 203), the first sub-preform stiffener having a first sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base and a first sub-preform stiffener flange on a second edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base so that said first sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base abuts the first flange (102) and the first sub-preform stiffener base abuts said circumferential base surface ; and

    wrapping a contour woven fabric (405, 406) about the centerline to form a second sub-preform stiffener with a second sub-preform stiffener base around said contour woven fabric (202, 203), the second sub-preform stiffener having a second sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the second sub-preform stiffener base and a second sub-preform stiffener flange on a second edge of the second sub-preform stiffener base so that said second sub-preform stiffener flange on a first edge of the of the second sub-preform stiffener base abuts the second flange (103) and the second sub-preform stiffener base abuts said circumferential base surface,

    wrapping a continuous woven fabric (403, 404) about the centerline (201) to form an intermediate stiffener with an intermediate stiffener base around said continuous woven fabric (202, 203), the intermediate stiffener having an intermediate stiffener first flange on a first edge of the intermediate stiffener base and an intermediate stiffener second flange on a second edge of the intermediate stiffener base, the intermediate stiffener base abuts said circumferential base surface;

    disposing the intermediate stiffener between the first sub-preform stiffener and the second sub-preform stiffener,

    wherein the intermediate stiffener first flange abuts the first sub-preform stiffener flange on the second edge of the first sub-preform stiffener base to form a first preform base intermediate stiffener (408), and

    wherein the intermediate stiffener second flange abuts the second sub-preform stiffener flange on the second edge of the second sub-preform stiffener base to form a second preform base intermediate stiffener (407).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Verfahren zum Herstellen eines gewebten Gebläsegehäuses, umfassend die Schritte:

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (202, 203) um eine Mittellinie (201) ein oder mehrere Male zum Bilden einer Vorformbasis, die eine umlaufende Basisfläche um die genannte Mittellinie mit einem Flansch (102) aufweist, der auf einer ersten Kante der Basisfläche gebildet ist, und einem zweiten Flansch (103), der auf einer zweiten Kante der Basisfläche gebildet ist;

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (401, 402) um die Mittellinie zum Bilden einer ersten Teil-Vorformversteifung mit einer ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis um den genannten gewebten Konturstoff (202, 203), wobei die erste Teil-Vorformversteifung einen ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis und einen ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer zweiten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis derart aufweist, dass der genannte erste Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an den ersten Flansch (102) angrenzt und die erste Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an die genannte umlaufende Basisfläche angrenzt; und

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (405, 406) um die Mittellinie zum Bilden einer zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifung mit einer zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis um den genannten gewebten Konturstoff (202, 203), wobei die genannte zweite Teil-Vorformversteifung einen zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis und einen zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer zweiten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis derart aufweist, dass der genannte zweite Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an den zweiten Flansch (103) angrenzt und die zweite Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an die genannte umlaufende Basisfläche angrenzt,

    wobei der erste Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf der zweiten Kante an den zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf der zweiten Kante angrenzt.


     
    2. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt:
    Heften einer oder mehrerer Teil-Vorformversteifung(en) an den genannten gewebten Konturstoff.
     
    3. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt:
    Formung des genannten gewebten Konturstoffs, nachdem er ein oder mehrere Male um eine Mittellinie gewickelt wurde, um den genannten Umfang um die Mittellinie zu bilden
     
    4. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 3, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt:

    - Ko-Formung einer oder mehrerer der genannten Teil-Vorformversteifung(en) mit dem genannten gewebten Konturstoff, nachdem er ein oder mehrere Mal(e) um die Mittellinie gewickelt wurde.


     
    5. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 3, weiterhin umfassend den Schritt:
    Formen der genannten Teil-Vorformversteifungen auf dem genannten geformten, gewebten Konturstoff.
     
    6. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei die erste Teil-Vorform und die zweite Teil-Vorform jeweils teilweise um die genannte umlaufende Basisfläche gewickelt sind.
     
    7. Verfahren zum Herstellen eines gewebten Gebläsegehäuses, umfassend die Schritte:

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (202, 203) ein oder mehrere Male um eine Mittellinie (201) zum Bilden einer ersten Vorformbasis, die eine umlaufende Basisfläche um die genannte Mittellinie mit einem ersten Flansch (102), der auf einer ersten Kante der genannten Basisfläche gebildet ist, die einen ersten Kantenumfang um die genannte Mittellinie bildet, und einen zweiten Flansch (103), der auf einer zweiten Kante der Basisfläche gebildet ist, die einen zweiten Kantenumfang um die genannte Mittellinie bildet, aufweist;

    Wickeln von zwei oder mehr Teil-Vorformen um die genannte erste Vorform-Basis, wobei jede Teil-Vorform einen ersten Teil-Vorformflansch, der auf einer ersten Kante der Teil-Vorform gebildet ist und einen ersten Kantenumfang um die genannte Mittellinie bildet, und einen zweiten Teil-Vorformflansch, der auf einer zweiten Kante der genannten Teil-Vorform zum Bilden eines zweiten Kantenumfangs um die genannte Mittellinie, aufweist, und

    Bilden von Zwischenversteifungen zwischen dem genannten ersten Flansch und dem genannten zweiten Flansch durch Fluchten jedes anliegenden Teil-Vorformflansches derart, dass die genannten anliegenden Teil-Vorformflansche miteinander in Kontakt sind.


     
    8. Verfahren zum Herstellen einer gewebten Vorform, umfassend die Schritte:

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs ein oder mehrere Male um eine Mittellinie zum Bilden einer umlaufenden Teil-Vorformfläche um die genannte Mittellinie, wobei die genannte Teil-Vorform einen ersten eingebauten Flansch, der auf einer ersten Kante des genannten gewebten Stoffs angeordnet ist, der einen ersten Kantenumfang um die genannte Mittelinie bildet, und einen zweiten eingebauten Flansch, der auf einer zweiten Kante des genannten gewebten Stoffs, der einen zweiten Kantenumfang um die genannte Mittellinie bildet, aufweist;

    Bilden des gewebten Konturstoffs zum Bilden von Zwischenversteifungen in einer Zwischenversteifungsumhüllung; und

    Wickeln der genannten Zwischenversteifungsumhüllung um die genannte Teil-Vorform.


     
    9. Verfahren zum Herstellen eines gewebten Gebläsegehäuses, umfassend:

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (202, 203) um eine Mittellinie (201) ein oder mehrere Mal(e) zum Bilden einer Vorformbasis, die eine umlaufende Basisfläche um die genannte Mittellinie mit einem ersten Flansch (102), der auf einer ersten Kante der Basisfläche gebildet wird, und einem zweiten Flansch (103), der auf einer zweiten Kante der Basisfläche gebildet wird, aufweist;

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (401, 402) um die Mittellinie zum Bilden einer ersten Teil-Vorformversteifung mit einer ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis um den genannten gewebten Konturstoff (202, 203), wobei die erste Teil-Vorformversteifung einen ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis und einen ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer zweiten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis derart aufweist, dass der genannte erste Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an den ersten Flansch (102) angrenzt und die erste Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an die genannte umlaufende Basisfläche angrenzt; und

    Wickeln eines gewebten Konturstoffs (405, 406) um die Mittellinie zum Bilden einer zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifung mit einer zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis um den genannten gewebten Konturstoff (202, 203), wobei die zweite Teil-Vorformversteifung einen zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis und einen zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer zweiten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis derart aufweist, dass der genannte zweite Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an den zweiten Flansch (103) angrenzt und die zweite Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis an die genannte umlaufende Basisfläche angrenzt;

    Wickeln eines durchgehenden gewebten Stoffs (403, 404) um die Mittellinie (201) zum Bilden einer Zwischenversteifung mit einer Zwischenversteifungsbasis um den genannten durchgehenden gewebten Stoff (202, 203), wobei die Zwischenversteifung einen ersten Zwischenversteifungsflansch auf einer ersten Kante der Zwischenversteifungsbasis und einen zweiten Zwischenversteifungsflansch auf einer zweiten Kante der Zwischenversteifungsbasis aufweist, wobei die Zwischenversteifungsbasis an die umlaufende Basisfläche angrenzt;

    Anordnen der Zwischenversteifung zwischen der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifung und der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifung,

    wobei der erste Zwischenversteifungsflansch an den ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf der zweiten Kante der ersten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis angrenzt, um eine erste Vorformbasis einer Zwischenversteifung (408) zu bilden, und

    wobei der zweite Zwischenversteifungsflansch an den zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsflansch auf der zweiten Kante der zweiten Teil-Vorformversteifungsbasis zum Bilden einer zweiten Vorformbasis der Zwischenversteifung (407) angrenzt.


     


    Revendications

    1. Procédé de fabrication d'un carter de ventilateur tissé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (202, 203) autour d'un axe central (201) une ou plusieurs fois pour former une base de préforme ayant une surface de base périphérique autour dudit axe central avec une première bride (102) formée sur un premier bord de la surface de base et une seconde bride (103) formée sur un second bord de la surface de base ;

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (401, 402) autour de l'axe central pour former un premier raidisseur de sous-préforme avec une première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme autour dudit tissu tissé de contour (202, 203), le premier raidisseur de sous-préforme ayant une première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme et une première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un second bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme de telle sorte que ladite première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à la première bride (102) et la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à ladite surface de base périphérique ; et

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (405, 406) autour de l'axe central pour former un second raidisseur de sous-préforme avec une seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme autour dudit tissu tissé de contour (202, 203), le second raidisseur de sous-préforme ayant une seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme et une seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un second bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme de telle sorte que ladite seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à la seconde bride (103) et la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à ladite surface de base périphérique,

    dans lequel la première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur le second bord est adjacente à la seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur le second bord.


     
    2. Procédé selon la revendication 1 comprenant en outre l'étape consistant à :
    coudre un ou de plusieurs desdits raidisseurs de sous-préforme sur ledit tissu tissé de contour.
     
    3. Procédé selon la revendication 1 comprenant en outre l'étape consistant à :
    mouler ledit tissu tissé de contour après qu'il a été enroulé une ou plusieurs fois autour d'un axe central pour former ladite périphérie autour de l'axe central.
     
    4. Procédé selon la revendication 3 comprenant en outre l'étape consistant à :
    co-mouler un ou plusieurs desdits raidisseurs de sous-préforme avec ledit tissu tissé de contour après qu'il a été enroulé une ou plusieurs fois autour de l'axe central.
     
    5. Procédé selon la revendication 3 comprenant en outre l'étape consistant à :
    mouler lesdits raidisseurs de sous-préforme sur ledit tissu tissé de contour moulé.
     
    6. Procédé selon la revendication 1, dans lequel la première sous-préforme et la seconde sous-préforme sont chacune partiellement enroulées autour de ladite surface de base périphérique.
     
    7. Procédé de fabrication d'un carter de ventilateur tissé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (202, 203) une ou plusieurs fois autour d'un axe central (201) pour former une première base de préforme ayant une surface de base périphérique autour dudit axe central avec une première bride (102) formée sur un premier bord de ladite surface de base qui forme une première périphérie de bord autour dudit axe central et une seconde bride (103) formée sur un second bord de la surface de base qui forme une seconde périphérie de bord autour dudit axe central ;

    enrouler deux ou plusieurs sous-préformes autour de ladite première base de préforme, dans lequel chaque sous-préforme a une première bride de sous-préforme formée sur un premier bord de la sous-préforme et forme une première périphérie de bord autour dudit axe central et une seconde bride de sous-préforme formée sur un second bord de ladite sous-préforme pour former une seconde périphérie de bord autour dudit axe central ; et former des raidisseurs intermédiaires entre ladite première bride et ladite seconde bride par alignement de chaque bride de sous-préforme adjacente de telle sorte que ces brides de sous-préforme adjacentes soient en contact les unes avec les autres.


     
    8. Procédé de fabrication d'une préforme tissée comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour une ou plusieurs fois autour d'un axe central pour former une surface périphérique de sous-préforme autour dudit axe central, dans lequel ladite sous-préforme a une première bride intégrale disposée sur un premier bord dudit tissu tissé qui forme une première périphérie de bord autour dudit axe central et une seconde bride intégrale disposée sur un second bord dudit tissu tissé qui forme une seconde périphérie de bord autour dudit axe central ;

    former le tissu tissé de contour pour former des raidisseurs intermédiaires dans une spire de raidisseur intermédiaire ; et

    enrouler ledit raidisseur intermédiaire autour de ladite sous-préforme.


     
    9. Procédé de fabrication d'un carter de ventilateur tissé comprenant les étapes consistant à :

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (202, 203) autour d'un axe central (201) une ou plusieurs fois pour former une base de préforme ayant une surface de base périphérique autour dudit axe central avec une première bride (102) formée sur un premier bord de la surface de base et une seconde bride (103) formée sur un second bord de la surface de base ;

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (401, 402) autour de l'axe central pour former un premier raidisseur de sous-préforme avec une première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme autour dudit tissu tissé de contour (202, 203), le premier raidisseur de sous-préforme ayant une première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme et une première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un second bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme de telle sorte que ladite première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à la première bride (102) et la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à ladite surface de base périphérique ; et

    enrouler un tissu tissé de contour (405, 406) autour de l'axe central pour former un second raidisseur de sous-préforme avec une second base de raidisseur de sous-préforme autour dudit tissu tissé de contour (202, 203), le second raidisseur de sous-préforme ayant une seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme et une seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un second bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme de telle sorte que ladite seconde bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur un premier bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à la seconde bride (103) et la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme est adjacente à ladite surface de base périphérique,

    enrouler un tissu tissé continu (403, 404) autour de l'axe central (201) pour former un raidisseur intermédiaire avec une base de raidisseur intermédiaire autour dudit tissu tissé continu (202, 203), le raidisseur intermédiaire ayant une première bride de raidisseur intermédiaire sur un premier bord de la base de raidisseur intermédiaire et une seconde bride de raidisseur intermédiaire sur un second bord de la base de raidisseur intermédiaire, la base de raidisseur intermédiaire étant adjacente à ladite surface de base périphérique ;

    disposer le raidisseur intermédiaire entre le premier raidisseur de sous-préforme et le second raidisseur de sous-préforme,

    dans lequel la première bride de raidisseur intermédiaire est adjacente à la première bride de raidisseur de sous-préforme sur le second bord de la première base de raidisseur de sous-préforme pour former un premier raidisseur intermédiaire de base de préforme (408), et

    dans lequel la seconde bride de raidisseur intermédiaire est adjacente à la seconde bride du raidisseur de sous-préforme sur le second bord de la seconde base de raidisseur de sous-préforme pour former un second raidisseur intermédiaire de base de préforme (407).


     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description