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How to bevel Nomex Honeycomb

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Scheny

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From what I've seen of honeycomb, you really have to use prepregs and the adhesive film "coupling layers" to get uniformly good weight properties. If you're using wet layups, even with very careful saturation, you can get much higher weights per unit area.
Hi Bob. The method I referred to, is using vacuum infusion for the outer carbon layers, then applying a super thin glass (64g/m2) soaked in resin with some excess resin, then honeycomb and vacuum again.

Afterwards another thin glass layer plus the carbon, but without a soaking layer on the outside. All excess goes to the honey. This method is used for some of the new planes.

BTW, I have a question for you, but I will PM you.

BR, Andreas
 

wsimpso1

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Hi, it is a combination of resin and micro balloons, as resin alone would get too heavy and you loose the benefit of honeycomb.

I have not done it personally yet, but we are intending to use a belt-grinder which we mount inclined at an angle on a slider plate. Then we can slide it along the edge creating the bevel.

As for the angle, we intend to do 3:1, so it will be approximately 30°.
I suspect that a nice sharp carbide router bit spun at router speeds would do the job nicely. Marshall's book describes cutters that resemble engine intake valves sharpened to razor edges for sculpting Nomex cores.

Filling the edges for a 30 degree bevel with dry micro can be heavy (4.5 pounds/gallon is the best I can do with the stuff) and negate gains from the rest of the core. You have to run your own numbers on this stuff to decide what your tradeoffs are.

I just ran 3 PCF honeycomb, a 30 degree chamfer, and edge fill with dry micro at 4.5 lb/gallon to fill the edges for machining. I compared it to just using 6 pcf PVC foam (Divinycel). I picked square panels, 1/4 PVC foam core is lighter when the total core is less than 19" on a side, 3/8" PVC foam core is lighter when the core is less than 31" on a side, and 1/2" PVC foam core is lighter when core is less than 41" on a side.

So, if your parts are big, even micro filled edges on honeycomb are lighter than PVC. Smaller parts are lighter in PVC. Me, If I found that I could not machine the cores plain, I would prefer to either just use PVC foam cores for the tapered edges or fill the edges with pour foam.

Have fun,

Billski
 
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Bille Floyd

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...

In the vast majority of cases where folks ask how to handle honeycomb, they'd be better off using pvc foam core.
You can practice on a few test parts first . Once honeycomb
is properly adhered, to a 3k- woven carbon or glass, and the
epoxy has gone off ; that's when You break out the block sander.

Honeycomb is glued to itself to make each line of cells, and each
cell holds the integrity for the next row of cell . You can sand your
bevel by stroking WITH the honeycombs glue lines, and the cells
will hold together quite well ; sand against those glue
lines, and the cells will disintegrate. You can sand a bevel
at most any angle ; and the cells can be tapered to the thickness
of a piece of paper if needed.

Try doing above , when one side of the honeycomb is not
glued to anything ; then sanding a bevel becomes quite
problematic.

Don't attempt to adhere Kevlar, directly to the cell walls
of honeycomb ; it will rip off kinda easy.

Boku is correct --- don't try to learn what you NEED to know
about the proper use of honeycomb from off the internet ;
it ain't gonna go well ! Honeycomb is Awesome stuff when
used correctly ; need i say more ?

Bille
 

PittsS1S

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First,i will infuse the outer carbon layers ,one spreadtow of 80 grs and one biax + - 45 ° of 200 grs. Second,put some resin one a flat surface and soak one side of the honeycomb in that resin, then install the honeycomb to the outer skin and vacuum .Third ,soak the inner layer,one biax +- 45° of 100 grs , with resin one a flat surface like making some prepreg and vacuum it to the first layer with honeycomb...May be the Andreas idea to use a thin layer of glass is very nice
 

BoKu

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First,i will infuse the outer carbon layers ,one spreadtow of 80 grs and one biax + - 45 ° of 200 grs. Second,put some resin one a flat surface and soak one side of the honeycomb in that resin, then install the honeycomb to the outer skin and vacuum .Third ,soak the inner layer,one biax +- 45° of 100 grs , with resin one a flat surface like making some prepreg and vacuum it to the first layer with honeycomb...May be the Andreas idea to use a thin layer of glass is very nice
Three vacuum cycles for a single part sounds like a huge amount of work per unit area. Just out of curiosity, what are you building that requires such heroic attention to weight?
 

PittsS1S

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Will be a lot easier,but heavier;reason why i want to use honeycomb . 29 kgs/m3 vs 60 kgs/m3. With a 3 mms core ,i will go from 87 grs/m2 to 180 grs/m2
 

wsimpso1

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OK, let's do some math. 6 pcf foam 1/4" thick is 0.125 lb/ft^2, while the honeycomb is 3 pcf or about 0.0625 lb/ft^2. If you methods add 0.0625 lb/ft to the honeycomb, you will be ahead to just use foam. How much is 0.0625 lb/ft^2? Well, let's figure out how much area of paper we have. 1/8" cell size means we have about 96 cells the short way across the cells and 96*0.866=83 the long way. The side of the hexogon is about 0.072. Let's be generous and assume all of the next layer of paper is glued to this one - that gives us three full lengths of that side dimension per cell, and we get one side wet per cell. The area of paper that is likely to get wetted when we do this by homebuilders methods are:

t*n1*n2*L*3 = 0.25*96*(96*0.866)0.072*3 = 431 in^2.

OK, how much thickness is 0.0625 lb spread over that area. 0.0625 lb/ft^2 of panel is 1.45E-4 lb/in^2 of nomex paper and resin is somewhere around 0.052 lb/in^3. 1.45E-4/0.052 = 0.0028" So, if your edges tapering and bonding added nothing and you wicked a layer of epoxy 0.003" thick onto the Nomex paper, you would be heavier than if you just used the same 1/4" thickness of PVC foam. Let's go metric 6 mm cores, 3 mm cells, and a layer of resin 0.075mm thick on the Nomex, and you are lighter with foam.

Now to finish the reality check:
  • The methods being described above will add weight around the edges and in the spar troughs, so you can afford even less wetting of the cores to stay on par with foam;
  • Each of the three steps has both process risk (the chance to scrap the part) and some incremental extra weight that you will not have in doing the skin in one shot;
  • I fully expect that if you build a couple skins each way and put them on a scale, your Nomex cored parts will be heavier than the PVC cored ones.

Pitts wings? I assume they are going to only have ribs at the Butt Line and the tips. Seriously, use Divinycel cores with each of your eight skins, each molded in one shot. Then smile that the job is done in eight sessions with parts about the same weight as the ones that took twenty four sessions. Well, more likely nine sessions instead of thirty or more, because you will have a learning curve with scrap, but a lot worse curve with the honeycomb.

And yeah, I did all of that math to just end up agreeing with Bob (above).

Billski
 

BoKu

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Will be a lot easier,but heavier;reason why i want to use honeycomb . 29 kgs/m3 vs 60 kgs/m3. With a 3 mms core ,i will go from 87 grs/m2 to 180 grs/m2
Yeah, good luck with that.

Heavier? Yes. A lot? That is relative. The sandwich core is a relatively small portion of the overall wing skin mass.

The process you describe has a lot of steps, and each step has potential to ruin the part.

Also, for an aerobatic airplane I think you're going to want to use more carbon on the outside. I'd go with 12oz carbon biax on the outside, 6oz biax inside, and 6mm core, with tapes of 12oz biax along the leading edge and trailing edge or aileron cove.

[Edit add: TL;DR: yeah, what Bilski said.]
 

wsimpso1

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Will be a lot easier,but heavier;reason why i want to use honeycomb . 29 kgs/m3 vs 60 kgs/m3. With a 3 mms core ,i will go from 87 grs/m2 to 180 grs/m2
I do not believe you will see much weight difference. If your methods are perfect, you will still have to add the film adhesive layer on both sides, the edges and spar troughs will gain weight, your technique will not be really good until you are done with the job, and your parts will save little weight but expend way more effort in the build.

If you just have to try to prove it to yourself, go ahead and try a couple parts both ways in one mold, and see how much difference there is or isn't. Oh, and please report back to us on that.

Thread Drift Alert! If you are really after a weight reduction, Pitts Special wing chord is in the zone for you to save weight by doing the wing on a massive core, Rutan Long-Ez style. Generally, if your chord is less than 6 feet, you can save weight with a massive core redesign. Yes, the foam weighs something, but the foam takes the place of: fiber resin inner layers on the cores; ribs; flanges and glue lines for bonding. Until the chord exceeds 6 feet, foam is lighter than hollow. Hardpoints are easier and lighter to make work too. Look hard at hotwiring the cores and then going full Long Ez, you might be surprised at how much more labor and weight you can save. The big drawback to this is the wings will have to be white or yellow or a pastel shade... Thread Drift Alert OFF.

Billski
 

BJC

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Pitts:

What are you wanting to accomplish with composite skins? Better aero? Standard S-1S airfoils?

What internal structure? Composite or standard wood?

Thanks,


BJC
 

PittsS1S

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I cannot have more than of 4 mms thick for the sandwich . The core will run only between each spars ..19 " from the front axis spars to rear axis spars .The wings chords are from 36,25 " to 37,5 ".Each spars will have 3 mms thick x 30 mms wide carbon pultruded caps . Less ribs ;only butts , at ailerons hinges,near flying and landings wires attach and may be one more if i have to keep the drag wires .All those ribs will be compression ribs build with spruce capstrips and carbon skin.
Pitts S1 uncovered wings weigh around 50 kgs with and area of 9,2 m2
My wings have a lot bigger ailerons in chord and span,but those original wings will not have enough torsional strength to handle them ;so the carbon pultruded caps with the biax sandwich skins could be a good answer..may be...with not more than 8 kgs....may be it is not possible.
I am going to have a look to divinycell and rohacell core....May be ,as advices,it is the way i have to follow
 

BoKu

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...I assume they are going to only have ribs at the Butt Line and the tips...
I'd suggest caution regarding that assumption. That works fine in gliders largely because the span loading is so low, so no particular slice of wing is strongly loaded. With lower aspect ratio wings, the shear that reacts lift loads from the skin into the spar is greater, so a sandwich skin on its own might not have enough shear strength to do that. I'd think some analysis is called for.

When my friend Steve Smith started building carbon fiber RV-6 wings in my shop, I was surprised at how many ribs were required.
 

RSD

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Pitts - take a look at that youtube video that I posted of the Lantor Soric with different carbon fibre layups - it may give you the answer to what you are seeking.
 

wsimpso1

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I'd suggest caution regarding that assumption. That works fine in gliders largely because the span loading is so low, so no particular slice of wing is strongly loaded. With lower aspect ratio wings, the shear that reacts lift loads from the skin into the spar is greater, so a sandwich skin on its own might not have enough shear strength to do that. I'd think some analysis is called for.

When my friend Steve Smith started building carbon fiber RV-6 wings in my shop, I was surprised at how many ribs were required.
Was just assuming that because there have been other composite wings built and sold for the Pitts that are "ribless", ribs only at tip and root. I thought maybe this one was doing that too.

Most of us will end up with a few ribs for things like supporting hinge points and aileron bellcranks and the like. Thicker cores let us omit some ribs that are in there for skin panel strength reasons. How much airfoil distortion we are willing to put up with also comes into finding the lightest combination of skin core thickness and rib count.

If we are comparing same core thickness with Nomex honeycomb and PVC foam, I imagine the rib count issue will scale the same in both core types. I suspect that there is little to be gained on composite rib count with one or the other core material, particularly as rib weight is largely the attaching flanges, transfer flanges, and glue lines.

Billski
 
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PittsS1S

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I will have a total of 7 ribs by wings,all compression ribs from 3/4" to 7/8" thick .The thickness of each spruce spars is 11/16" .
As Boku said,i am wonderind about the shear from the skin into the spars...and the skin will be very thin,around 5/32" .
BJC. Standard S1SS airfoils,spruce spars with pultruded carbon caps,Compression ribs with spruce capstrips ans carbon skin.The goal,better tortional strength to handle the bigger ailerons and get a better roll rate..above 360° per seconde espected.
Billsky .I did start to have a look at the PVC and Rohacell core....Of course,i could to the skin in one step using them and the infusion method ...and there is more area glued from the carbon to the core compared to the Nomex Honeycomb...May be using a thinner core,let say 2 mms and a thicker outer layer of carbon will be better.
RSD. I had a look to that video ,thank you
 

BJC

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I’m not certain of the roll rate of Wolf wings, but they probably are in the 360 degrees per second range. Their internal structure is not very different from standard wings.


BJC
 

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