Rotor developments in Dresden

Scientists at Dresden Technical University have developed an extremely light three-dimensionally reinforced high-speed rotor made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic. The rotor is expected to find applications in centrifuges used in food-manufacturing or in the flywheels of vehicles.

The developments at Dresden feature the use of commingled hybrid yarns (CF/PEEK hybrid yarn). These are made by mixing carbon fibers with other plastic fibres, and then processing the hybrid into yarn. The yarn must be commingled in such a way as to withstand the physical demands of a rotor that neither distorts or rips.

Using a special sewing technique, the semi-finished textile product is then reinforced on over-stressed places. In an autoclave, the scientists squeeze the semi-finished textile product under heat and pressure into stable, firm, and stiff plastic rotor components, which are light in weight. The rotors are still being assembled from single parts, but starting this year, the Dresden team want to perfect the process so that the three-dimensionally reinforced rotor can be produced as one piece.

High-performance test beds are checking the stress capacity of new rotors in textile design. To measure the rotor distortion, the Dresden scientists are integrating stretch-sensitive measuring instruments into the textile reinforcement structure. The goal is to be able to monitor online the fibre reinforced rotors when in operation.