Tape placement is an advanced composites process that orients resin preimpregnated high-strength reinforcement fibers in specific directions. Part weight is minimized by concentrating high strength in only the directions needed. It is widely used in the fabrication of high strength/weight ratio parts in the aerospace industry such as aircraft wing and body skins,control surfaces, spacecraft and missiles. Automated equipment is predominately used for large structures while hand tape placement remains widely used but usually for smaller parts. Most automated machines are large, sophisticated and represent a major capitol investment. Resin choices for tapes can be grouped by processing characteristics. These are, Tacky, B-staged resins later cured to a thermoset stage, e.g., epoxies. Non-tacky solid resins that melt and flow prior to curing to a thermoset polymer, e.g., bismaleimides and non-tacky thermoplastic resins processed entirely by melting and freezing, e.g., polyetherketone, (PEEK), and polyphenylene sulfide, (PPS).
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