Executive Summary of the FP7-SME Project Mu-tool

The aim of the project Mu-Tool is to develop an alternative method of microwave processing of composites, to enable the rapid and low-cost production of composite parts. The new process will increase energy and production efficiencies while reducing greenhouse emissions and production costs.

The principle of this technology will be the use of ceramic tooling which is transparent to microwaves, while the inner surface of the tools is coated with a microwave-absorbent material. Energy will be applied to the tooling through the absorbing layer only, minimizing the amount of applied energy and therefore also minimizing the cost and emission of CO2 gases. As the composite component is heated directly (via the absorber material),whilst allowing the tooling and microwave chamber to remain relatively cool, the process can be terminated and restarted more quickly leading to an improvement in productivity and a large reduction in energy use.

The lower cost parts produced will open up new mass-market application areas in the field of surface transport.In the automotive field, the goal of lower-carbon vehicles is placing new demands upon the availability of low-cost, light-weight strong materials. Mu-tool will realize this potential..