Filament winding, one of the oldest composite manufacturing processes, was used to manufacture composite tubes simply. One of the easiest methods for filament winding is manufacturing cylindrical-shaped tubes. Tubes can be used for many applications for example as a rocket body, system support unit, connection line. In addition to the cylindrical tubes, products with a constant cross-section over length are also easy to manufacture. The only difference simply occurs in the mandrel to adapt adequate cross-section of the part.
Composite materials provide high strength to the tubes for different applications. Required strength and weight properties change depending on the application, however, composites mostly used to reduce the weight of the overall systems.
Carbon fiber tubes can help the system to increase strength by providing reduced weight at the same time with proper manufacturing. Glass fiber tubes are also used to reduce the weight of regular systems that high strength, not a prerequisite.
Filament Winding Method for Composite Tubes
Carbon fiber with high strength and low weight can be expensive for most applications. Filament winding, with automated winders, enables a cost-effective solution with high production rates for tube parts. Standard or non-standard parts can be easily and rapidly manufactured with specific fiber orientations.
When compared with the hand-lay-up method for manufacturing composite tubes, filament winding offers an advantage of fast and standard property manufacturing regarding the automated process. Manufacturing composite tubes with hand lay-up may significant problems and non-standardized mechanical properties because of the human interaction in the manufacturing process. Therefore, the properties of composite tubes manufactured with the hand lay-up process depend on human ability.
Composite Tube Structures
Regarding the cylindrical form of the tubes, different applications are possible to use on different scales. In the aerospace industry, basic examples can be given as carbon fiber rocket bodies and fuselage of Boeing 787. The automotive industry uses composite tubes as a component of a suspension system, connection points, or in inner systems of the mechanisms.
Apart from the cylindrical geometry, constant cross-sectional parts such as rectangular parts are also popular for different applications. Composite insulators with rectangular or circular cross-sections are used as electrical isolation component in such industries.