Manufacturing near-net shape preforms of fibre-reinforced composites has received growing interest from industry. Traditionally, a preform was made from 2D fabrics, but recently, it has been shown that 3D textiles can be used with success; with weaving being the predominant technology for carbon fibre composites. In 3D weaving, weft, warp and binder fibres run across, along and through the fabrics in the X, Y and Z directions, respectively. Producing a unitised single-piece fabric and subsequently reducing the takt time required for rapid composite manufacturing are two of the main advantages of using 3D woven preforms. Weaving of 3D fabrics, manufacturing of 3D composites, physical characterisation and mechanical testing of infused composites samples are discussed in this chapter. Finally, a large automotive composite made of single-piece 3D woven preform was manufactured and presented for demonstration.
Part of the book: Recent Developments in the Field of Carbon Fibers