(19)
(11)EP 3 726 073 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
21.10.2020 Bulletin 2020/43

(21)Application number: 18887941.5

(22)Date of filing:  06.12.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
F16B 37/00(2006.01)
F16B 35/00(2006.01)
C08J 5/04(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/044937
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/117012 (20.06.2019 Gazette  2019/25)
(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
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 12.12.2017 JP 2017237462

(71)Applicant: HARDLOCK INDUSTRY CO., Ltd.
Osaka 577-063 (JP)

(72)Inventor:
  • WAKABAYASHI, Katsuhiko
    Higashiosaka-shi, Osaka 577-0063 (JP)

(74)Representative: Sajda, Wolf E. 
Meissner Bolte Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte Partnerschaft mbB Postfach 86 06 24
81633 München
81633 München (DE)

  


(54)MEMBER HAVING SCREW THREAD MADE FROM CARBON FIBER-REINFORCED COMPOSITE MATERIAL


(57) A member with threads is provided that is made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material with improved strength. Carbon fibers each extending in the axial direction across at least two threads appearing in a longitudinal cross section are embedded in the at least two threads in a zigzag manner along the surface shape of the at least two threads appearing in a longitudinal cross section. Preferably, the member is a nut, where the above-described structure is embedded in the threads of the female threadform of the nut, thereby providing a nut that is lightweight and exhibits improved strength.




Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present invention relates to a member with threads made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material, such as carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics or carbon-fiber-reinforced carbon composite materials, for example a nut made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics.

BACKGROUND ART



[0002] Bolts with a threaded outer periphery and nuts with a threaded inner periphery are used for tightening purposes in a variety of structures. Bolts and nuts made of metal, such as stainless steel, are used in applications that require strength and durability.

[0003] Since metallic bolts and nuts are relatively heavy, bolts and nuts made of plastics are used in applications that require neither high strength nor high durability.

[0004] In recent years, there has been a growing interest in carbon-fiber-reinforced composite materials due to their low weight as well as their strength, which is substantially equal to that of metal. Their use in members such as threaded bolts and nuts has been investigated, and some of them are disclosed in Patent Documents 1 to 4, listed below.

PRIOR ART DOCUMENTS


PATENT DOCUMENTS



[0005] 

Patent Document 1 JP Hei9 (1997)-254266 A

Patent Document 2 JP 2001-289226 A

Patent Document 3 JP 2016-88073 A

Patent Document 4 JP 2017-67129 A


SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


PROBLEMS TO BE SOLVED BY THE INVENTION



[0006] The bolt illustrated in FIG. 1 of Patent Document 1 is produced, as described in paragraphs 0025 to 0027 of this document, by preparing a shaft material with a large number of long carbon fibers uniformly oriented in the axial direction and embedded in the matrix, thermally curing the material, and then using a lathe or the like to cut threads on the outer periphery of the shaft.

[0007] This means that carbon fibers located within adjacent threads arranged in the axial direction are divided by the lathing; as such, when axial stress is applied to threads, the threads can easily be broken.

[0008] Paragraph 0028 of Patent Document 1 also discloses a method of forming a bolt shaft by preparing reinforced fibers having the same length as the to-be-formed bolt shaft that have been impregnated with a matrix in advance, bundling the fibers into a round rod, and thermally compressing them in a mold having an inner periphery provided with male threads.

[0009] However, in this method of forming a bolt shaft, only matrix seeps out toward the outer periphery during the radially inward compression by the mold, as shown in FIG. 11, which means that no reinforcing fibers are present within the threads and, consequently, the threads are not reinforced. Thus, again, the threads can easily be broken upon application of axial stress to the threads.

[0010] Patent Document 2 discloses a method of manufacturing a continuous thread stud by applying phenol resin to a plain cloth of carbon fibers to form a pre-preg, placing a plurality of such pre-pregs over one another, performing thermal compression and burning to form a two-dimensional C/C material, and threading this C/C material.

[0011] Since this manufacturing method also forms threads by machining the outer periphery of the C/C material, carbon fibers located within adjacent threads arranged in the axial direction are cut and divided by the machining.

[0012] Patent Document 3 discloses a method of manufacturing a bolt or nut by preparing pellets containing short carbon fibers or long carbon fibers, which are used as a raw material for injection molding to form a round rod, and lathing the round rod to form threads on its outer or inner periphery. This manufacturing method, too, is thought to divide carbon fibers located within adjacent threads arranged in the axial direction during lathing.

[0013] Patent Document 4 discloses a bolt and nut made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics with carbon fibers that are helically wound along thread grooves. In these bolt and nut, large axial stress applied to the threads is in a direction generally perpendicular to the direction of the carbon fibers, which means that the threads are not reinforced by the carbon fibers.

[0014] An object of the present invention is to propose a novel construction of embedded carbon fibers that can reinforce the threads by virtue of the carbon fibers and thus significantly improve the strength of a nut and bolt in which at least the threads are made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material.

MEANS FOR SOLVING THE PROBLEMS



[0015] To achieve the above-stated object, the present invention provides the following technical means.

[0016] That is, the present invention provides a member with threads made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material characterized in that multiple carbon fibers each extending in an axial direction across at least two threads appearing in a longitudinal cross section is embedded in the at least two threads in a zigzag manner along a surface shape of the at least two threads appearing a longitudinal cross section.

[0017] According to the present invention, carbon-fiber-reinforced composite materials include carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics and carbon-fiber-reinforced carbon composite materials (hereinafter referred to as "C/C composites").

[0018] Preferably, each of the carbon fibers serving as the reinforcing fibers is continuous carbon fiber extending the entire longitudinal range associated with the threads of the member; alternatively, they may be long carbon fibers axially extending part of the range associated with the threads.

[0019] Preferably, the plastics serving as the matrix of the carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material are thermosetting plastics; alternatively, they may be thermoplastic plastics. The threads made of a C/C composite may be formed by forming threads made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics and then subjecting them to thermal treatment in an inert atmosphere to carbonize the matrix plastics, or may be formed by any other appropriate method.

[0020] The feature of the present invention is the construction of carbon fibers embedded in the threads; the matrix may be formed by a currently known method or a method that will be developed in the future.

[0021] The present invention only requires that at least the threads include the above-stated feature; the body of the member may have any appropriate material and structure. For example, the body of the member may be an injection-molded product of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics reinforced by short carbon fibers, or may be formed from normal plastics or metal containing no reinforcing fibers.

[0022] Embedded in the at least two threads in a zigzag manner along a surface shape of the at least two threads appearing in a longitudinal cross section" means that the carbon fibers themselves are bent in a zigzag manner to form at least two ridges; in this construction, adjacent threads arranged in the axial direction appearing in a longitudinal cross section are reinforced by the carbon fibers, thereby significantly improving the strength of the threads.

[0023] The threads of the present invention may be single-start threads, double-start threads, or multiple-start threads including triple-start threads.

[0024] Typically, the member is a nut. The nut of the present invention has a threaded hole with an inner periphery provided with a female threadform constituted by the threads, and each of the carbon fibers is preferably a continuous fiber continuous generally across an entire axial length of the female threadform.

[0025] Such a nut having threads made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material has high strength while being lightweight, and may suitably be used in various fields that require strength as well as light weight, such as aircraft or space development, automobiles, motorcycles and railroads, and various fixed structures.

[0026] The nut preferably includes a nut body having an attachment hole and a threaded cylinder integrally fitted into the attachment hole of the nut body, and the female threadform is provided at the threaded cylinder. This construction will improve the strength of the threads while allowing the nut body to be formed at relatively low costs and thus reducing the cost of the nut as a whole.

[0027] The member may be a bolt. The bolt of the present invention preferably has a threaded shaft with an outer periphery provided with a male threadform constituted by the threads, and each of the carbon fibers is a continuous fiber continuous generally across an entire axial length of the male threadform.

[0028] The threaded shaft of the bolt includes a shaft body and a threaded cylinder integrally fitted onto an outer periphery of the shaft body, and the male threadform is provided on the threaded cylinder.

[0029] Each of the carbon fibers may be a long carbon fiber having a fiber length required to allow the fiber to be embedded in the at least two threads in a zigzag manner.

[0030] Further, it is preferable that each of the multiple fibers be distributed across an entire circumference of the threads.

[0031] Although typical examples of the member of the present invention are a nut and a bolt, the member may be any member having a threaded hole or a threaded shaft, and may be a structural member for a building or other fixed structures, or a member constituting part of the body or frame of an automobile or an airplane.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0032] 
FIG. 1
is a perspective view of a nut according to an embodiment of the present invention, some portions being shown in cross sections.
FIG. 2
is a perspective view of an intermediate product for the nut, some portions being shown in cross sections.
FIG. 3
is a perspective view of an intermediate product for the nut, some portions being shown in cross sections.
FIG. 4
is a simplified cross-sectional view of press equipment for manufacturing a threaded cylinder according to an embodiment.
FIG. 5
is a simplified cross-sectional view of the press equipment, illustrating the press step.
FIG. 6
is a perspective view of a corrugated plate that has been processed by the press equipment.
FIG. 7
is a perspective view of a threaded cylinder obtained by curling the corrugated plate.
FIG. 8
is a perspective view of a threaded cylinder and nut body according to another embodiment, illustrating the step of press-fitting the cylinder into the nut body.
FIG. 9
is a cross-sectional view of press equipment, illustrating a process of manufacturing the threaded cylinder.
FIG. 10
is a cross-sectional view of an implementation of the present invention applied to a special anti-loosening double nut.
FIG. 11
is a cross-sectional view of a bolt shaft obtained by a conventional manufacturing method, illustrating the structure of the shaft.

EMBODIMENTS FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION



[0033] Now, a preferred embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to the drawings.

[0034] FIG. 1 shows a nut 1 made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics according to an embodiment of the present invention, where the nut 1 has a threaded hole 1a with an inner periphery provided with a female threadform constituted by a helical threadform, or threads Th.

[0035] More specifically, the nut 1 includes a nut body 10 constituting an outer peripheral portion of the nut and a threaded cylinder 11 constituting an inner peripheral portion of the nut, where the nut body 10 is integrally formed on the outer periphery of the threaded cylinder 11 and the female threadform is provided at the threaded cylinder 11. The outer peripheral surface of the nut body 10 is hexagonal in shape.

[0036] Preferably, both the nut body 10 and threaded cylinder 11 are made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics. To improve heat resistance, the plastics serving as the matrix are preferably thermosetting plastics; alternatively, thermoplastic plastics may be used in applications that do not require heat resistance.

[0037] The thermosetting plastics may be epoxy resin, phenol resin, or unsaturated polyester resin. The thermoplastic plastics may be polyamide, polypropylene or polycarbonate. The carbon fibers serving as the reinforcing material may be PAN-based carbon fibers or pitch-based carbon fibers.

[0038] The nut body 10 may be integrally formed on the outer periphery of the threaded cylinder 11 by injection molding, for example; alternatively, it may be produced by any appropriate method, for example, by winding pre-preg tape around the outer periphery of the threaded cylinder 11 and thermally curing it to form an intermediate product, as shown in FIG. 2, and then machining the outer periphery, for example, to form the nut body.

[0039] The reinforcing fibers of the nut body 10 may be short carbon fibers, long carbon fibers, or continuous carbon fibers uniformly oriented in the circumferential direction, as shown in FIG. 3. Preferably, the carbon fiber content in the nut body 10 is 20 to 30 wt.%, or 20 to 30 vol.%.

[0040] The nut 1 of the present embodiment includes multiple continuous carbon fibers embedded in the threaded cylinder 11, which are continuous across the entire axial length of the threaded hole 1a. The multiple continuous carbon fibers are distributed uniformly along the circumferential direction and distributed uniformly along the thickness direction of the threaded cylinder 11; preferably, the carbon-fiber content in the threaded cylinder 3 is 50 wt.% to 90 wt.%, or 50 vol.% to 90 vol.%.

[0041] The continuous carbon fibers extend in the axial direction across all the threads Th arranged in the axial direction appearing in a longitudinal cross section, and embedded in all the threads Th in a zigzag manner along the shape of the surfaces (i.e., shape of the inner surfaces in the present embodiment) of all the threads Th as seen in a longitudinal cross section.

[0042] The continuous carbon fibers need not be bent to exactly match the shape of the surfaces of the threads Th, but are only required to be bent so as to be essentially positioned within the threads Th. Short carbon fibers or long carbon fibers may be embedded together with the continuous carbon fibers, or some of the continuous carbon fibers may be uniformly oriented in the circumferential direction or along the helix formed by the threads Th.

[0043] An exemplary method of manufacturing the threaded cylinder 3 will be described below with reference to FIGS. 4 and 7.

[0044] First, a press machine, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, is used to form a corrugated plate 6 made of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics, as shown in FIG. 6. The press machine includes an upper mold half 2 and a lower mold half 3, where those faces of the upper and lower mold halves 2 and 3 which face each other are each provided with a mold face with a corrugated cross-sectional shape.

[0045] As shown in FIG. 4, the upper and lower mold halves 2 and 3 are opened, and a plurality of sheets of a material of single-orientation carbon fibers, 4, and a plurality of sheets of thermoplastic plastics serving as the matrix, 5, are placed between the upper and lower mold halves 2 and 3 to be alternate along the vertical direction; then, the mold is closed, as shown in FIG. 5, and the sheets are heated and pressurized to form a corrugated plate 6, as shown in FIG. 6.

[0046] Thereafter, if necessary, the corrugated member is heated to a predetermined temperature, and is curled to provide a threaded cylinder 11, as shown in FIG. 7.

[0047] If the matrix is made of thermosetting resin, the cylinder may be formed by resin transfer molding (RTF). That is, a plurality of layers of a material of single-orientation carbon fibers that have not been impregnated with resin are placed over one another, press-formed by the upper and lower mold halves 2 and 3 to provide a corrugated plate; then, the resin is injected into the mold to impregnate the carbon fibers with the resin, and is thermally cured.

[0048] FIGS. 4 and 5 illustrate an exemplary implementation that uses a mold constructed to form a generally flat corrugated plate; alternatively, a mold may be used that is constructed to form a cylindrical member, as shown in FIG. 7.

[0049] Any method may be used to form the nut body 10 on the outer periphery of the threaded cylinder 11. Further, as shown in FIG. 8, an attachment hole 10a may be provided in the nut body 10 and the intermediate product 7 shown in FIG. 2 or 3 is press-fitted into the attachment hole 10a such that they strongly adhere to each other at their contact surfaces.

[0050] In such implementations, to improve the adhesion between the contact surfaces, the inner peripheral surface of the attachment hole 10a and the outer peripheral surface of the intermediate product 7 may be knurled.

[0051] Alternatively, the intermediate product 7 shown in FIG. 8 may be formed by performing a two-stage press process to form a plate of which one face is flat and the other face is corrugated, as shown in FIG. 9, and curling the plate to produce a cylinder. The primary press step in FIG. 9(b) is mainly intended to embed continuous carbon fibers in a zigzag manner.

[0052] This step ensures that the continuous carbon fibers are bent in a zigzag manner. The secondary press step in FIG. 9(c) and 9(d) is mainly intended to make one face flat, by conveying the corrugated plate 6 to another set of upper and lower mold halves 20 and 30, further placing carbon fiber sheets 4 and resin sheets 5 thereover and over one another, and pressing the sheets.

[0053] The present invention may be applied to a special anti-loosening double nut manufactured and sold by the present applicant, i.e., a "HARDLOCK" (trademark; International Registration No. 1 224 310) nut, as shown in FIG. 10. Further, it may not only be applied to a nut, but also to a bolt. Further, the present invention may be applied to various members having a thread hole or a thread shaft.

[0054] Further, in the context of the above-described manufacturing method, the carbon fiber sheets may be replaced by a pre-preg with continuous carbon fibers that have been impregnated with resin in advance. Alternatively, rather than placing resin sheets over one another, the forming process may use a powder-impregnated yarn, in which resin powder adheres to carbon fibers, or a commingled yarn, in which resin fibers are mixed with a bundle of carbon fibers, thereby improving the impregnation of carbon fibers with resin.


Claims

1. A member with threads made of a carbon-fiber-reinforced composite material,
wherein multiple carbon fibers each extending in an axial direction across at least two threads appearing in a longitudinal cross section are embedded in the at least two threads in a zigzag manner along a surface shape of the at least two threads appearing in a longitudinal cross section.
 
2. The member according to claim 1,
wherein the member is a nut; and
wherein the nut has a threaded hole with an inner periphery provided with a female threadform constituted by the threads; and
wherein each of the carbon fibers is a continuous fiber continuous generally across an entire axial length of the female threadform.
 
3. The member according to claim 2,
wherein the nut includes a nut body having an attachment hole and a threaded cylinder integrally fitted into the attachment hole of the nut body, and the female threadform is provided at the threaded cylinder.
 
4. The member according to claim 1,
wherein the member is a bolt; and
wherein the bolt has a threaded shaft with an outer periphery provided with a male threadform constituted by the threads; and each of the carbon fibers is a continuous fiber continuous generally across an entire axial length of the male threadform.
 
5. The member according to claim 4,
wherein the threaded shaft of the bolt includes a shaft body and a threaded cylinder integrally fitted onto an outer periphery of the shaft body, and the male threadform is provided on the threaded cylinder.
 
6. The member according to claim 1,
wherein each of the carbon fibers is a long carbon fiber having a fiber length required to allow the fiber to be embedded in the at least two threads in a zigzag manner.
 
7. The member according to claim 1 or 6,
wherein the multiple fibers are distributed across an entire circumference of the threads.
 




Drawing































Search report







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