Manipulating Fiber Orientation for the Reduction of Warpage in Carbon Fiber Composite Sandwich Panels


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Manipulating Fiber Orientation for the Reduction of Warpage in Carbon Fiber Composite Sandwich Panels is a well-researched Engineering Thesis/Dissertation topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.


Safran Cabin (Santa Maria, CA), previously known as Zodiac Aerospace, designs and manufactures interior cabin components for private and commercial aircraft. Carbon fiber face sheets have recently been incorporated in their overhead luggage bin assemblies which utilize a composite sandwich panel design, in order to provide additional stiffness to the previous glass fiber sandwich panels.

Since the introduction of carbon fiber in these luggage bin panels, Safran has experienced an increase in the warpage during manufacturing. When inspected by quality control, the panels are tested mimicking how they are installed in aircraft. If the panels do not meet specifications, the warped panels must be sent back in the production line for rework or are scrapped, costing the company both time and money.

This project studies the warpage of the panels during manufacturing and provides a solution to minimize the warpage. The fiber orientation and the resulting symmetry of the fibers about the panel core were suspected to be the main causes of the warpage. Test panels measuring 3 inches by 24 inches were studied utilizing the same manufacturing process.

Four novel combinations of fiber orientations were tested and compared against the current configuration used at Safran. The current layup used by Safran yielded warpage of 0.0410 inches. Asymmetric panel configuration yielded warpage of 0.00986 inches, for a 76% reduction in the warpage compared to the control study. The data collected from this study suggests that asymmetric layup consisting of fibers oriented at 45° and-45° relative to the length of the panel results in the lowest values of the warpage.


The current issue is that Safran Cabin Interiors (Santa Maria, CA) is manufacturing overhead bin doors consisting of a composite sandwich panel design that is warping which causes the part to be rejected or reworked. Prior work was conducted by Cal Poly students on a similar project with Safran Cabin (2018), which tested the warping of composite panels and provided several methods for measuring this warpage.

However, other than the past study conducted at Cal Poly, there is limited information available for characterizing and measuring the warpage of composite panels. To address the problem presented by Safran, this project aimed to investigate how fiber orientation within the face sheets of the composite sandwich panels, affects the magnitude of the warpage of the panels.

The specific goals of the project were to study the effects that fiber orientation has on the warpage and to reduce the magnitude of warpage to be consistently below the accepted amount of warpage, which is 0.025 in. per foot of panel length.

Testing methods and analysis techniques that were implemented to achieve these goals were to measure the maximum distance between a corner and the surface of a flat reference plane when 3 corners of the panel are in contact with the table. Statistical analysis was to be conducted to analyze how many panels out of each batch are warped more than the acceptable amount in addition to statistically analyzing the measurements.


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