Advanced materials, especially carbon fiber reinforced composites (CFRP), have gained the attention of different industries which produce lightweight and high-performance components. The most used manufacturing processes to realize these kinds of products are Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) and vacuum bag molding with autoclave curing. RTM is based on dry fiber technology and it appears the most promising manufacturing process to realized high-quality carbon fiber parts reducing cost and manufacturing time, especially if high pressure variants are employed. On the other hand, vacuum bag molding with autoclave curing is a very consolidated process which is, however, associated with long manufacturing time and costs as well as to low repeatability of the process due to the high labor input. Out-of-autoclave methods, such as pressure bag molding (PBM) have been developed to overcome the issues of vacuum bag molding process. From the environmental point of view, the manufacturing of CFRP components is associated with high environmental loads due to the impacts related to both raw materials and manufacturing processes. For this reason, reducing the energy consumption of production phases can lead to the development of greener CFRP products. In this context, the main scope of the present research is to evaluate and compare the environmental loads of a component for the automotive industry realized exploiting the RTM, the PBM and the bag molding processes to determine which one is ecofriendlier. This analysis has been conducted following the standard Life Cycle Assessment methodology based on a “cradle to gate” approach. In this way, the use phase and the disposal of the CFRP component have not been included in the analysis. Results have been evaluated by comparing the equivalent CO2 related to each manufacturing process.
Comparative life cycle assessment of carbon fiber reinforced composite components for automotive industry / Forcellese, A.; Mancia, T.; Simoncini, M.; Gentili, S.; Marconi, M.; Vita, A.; Nardinocchi, A.; Castorani, V.. - (2021). [10.25518/esaform21.2542]