For achieving high quality of in situ consolidation in thermoplastic Automated Fiber Placement, an approach is presented in this research work. The approach deals with the combination of material pre-heating and sub-ultrasonic vibration treatment. Therefore, this research work investigates the influence of frequency dependent consolidation pressure on the consolidation quality. A simplified experimental setup was developed that uses resistance electrical heating instead of the laser to establish the thermal consolidation condition in a universal testing machine. Consolidation experiments with frequencies up to 1 kHz were conducted. The manufactured specimens are examined using laser scanning microscopy to evaluate the bonding interface and differential scanning calorimetry to evaluate the degree of crystallinity. Additionally, the vibration-assisted specimens were compared to specimens manufactured with static consolidation pressure only. As a result of the experimental study, the interlaminar pore fraction and degree of compaction show a positive dependency to higher frequencies. The porosity decreases from 0.60% to 0.13% while the degree of compaction increases from 8.64% to 12.49% when increasing the vibration frequency up to 1 kHz. The differential scanning calorimetry experiments show that the crystallinity of the matrix is not affected by vibration-assisted consolidation.
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