Composites Today

Magazine For Composites Professionals

PRF Composite Materials granted UK patent on Q.tool Prepreg Tooling Technology

PRF Composite Materials (UK) announced that that the company has been granted a UK patent on Q.tool Prepreg Tooling Technology, a year and a half after the launch of this groundbreaking product.

The UK Intellectual Property Office has issued the patent grant for the prepreg’s unique design, confirming our assertion that Q.tool is an original, distinct and innovative technology in tooling prepreg. Offering a faster option to the traditional 1:8:1 tooling, Q.tool offers benefits over the much critiqued 1:5:1 system, providing exceptional drapeability.

Q.tool is unique in that it has considerably less enclosed free space than conventional 2/2 twill prepregs. By enclosed free space is meant the volume within the fabric which is not filled with fibre. It is in these areas, which fill with matrix, that air in the prepreg will migrate, causing pin holing in the surface and through thickness porosity. Heavier fibre tows result in increased crimp and therefore more enclosed space which requires a higher number of debulks to counter this. Q.tool only requires one debulk in the entire layup process. Furthermore, the unique prepreg fabric architecture produces a very highly drapeable material that is easy to handle and layup and, typically, provides a saving of 50% of the layup time of a conventional 1:8:1 system.

With its patented, innovative technology, Q.tool offers the constructor:

Typically, 50% saving in labour/time compared with established materials and methods

Reduced number of required debulks, to as few as one

Improved mould surface finish

Reduced through thickness porosity

Exceptional drapeability; it will easily mould to complex shapes

Reduction of plastic and other vacuum bag consumables

Increased reliability; the patented design of the material decreases the risk of errors in laying up

According to the company, not only does Q.tool offer time and cost savings, the reduction of energy required in manufacturing and the considerable reduction of consumable plastic, makes this a more sustainability solution for the manufacture of carbon tooling.