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Comparative life cycle assessment and cost analysis of autoclave and pressure bag molding for producing CFRP components

  • Alessio VitaEmail author
  • Vincenzo Castorani
  • Michele Germani
  • Marco Marconi
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
  • 34 Downloads

Abstract

Composite materials are demonstrating the ability to face the challenge of competitive markets where high-performance, low costs, and reduced manufacturing time are mandatory. Vacuum bagging with autoclave curing is one of the most used manufacturing methods for carbon fiber composite parts. However, it shows some limitations, mainly due to manual operations and long processing time. Out-of-autoclave (OOA) methods, such as pressure bag molding (PBM), can lead to a strong reduction of the manufacturing time through the simplification of lay-up and curing phases. In this paper, a comparative analysis between the autoclave and the PBM processes has been performed, jointly considering both the economic and environmental aspects. An evaluation of the environmental impacts has been carried out following the standardized life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. In addition, costs related to these two manufacturing techniques have been estimated through a parametric approach and successively compared. Different scenarios have been considered to take into account various production batches, mold manufacturing techniques, and end of life alternatives. The analyses show conflicting results demonstrating that a global optimum scenario does not exist and, depending on the chosen indicator and production batch, the best alternative varies. Considering only the environmental indicators, the autoclave process can be considered the most sustainable option, due to the lower consumption of energy.

Keywords

Autoclave Out of autoclave processing Prepreg Life cycle assessment Cost analysis Scenario analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge the support offered by HP Composites s.r.l. (Ascoli Piceno, Italy) for the data retrieval.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università Politecnica delle MarcheAnconaItaly
  2. 2.Università degli Studi della TusciaViterboItaly

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