Analysis and enhancement of resin flow in liquid composite molding process [article]

Felice Rubino, Universita' Degli Studi Di Salerno, Universita' Degli Studi Di Salerno
The research activity was devoted to the study of the composite materials manufacturing processes. In particular, the liquid composite molding (LCM) processes were the object of the performed study. In recent years LCM processes have gained a widespread diffusion in different industrial fields, from civil to automotive and aerospace due to their several advantages compared to the conventional autoclave processes. However, some disadvantages related to a not uniform preform impregnation due to a
more » ... local variation of the preform permeability, fibers bundles misalignment, that would results in dry zones or matrix richer areas, affect the LCMs limiting their usage in industrial full scale. Other limits are due to a limited pressure driving force as well as a reduced pressure compaction influencing the final volume fraction achievable with detrimental effects on the mechanical properties of the composite material product. A more deep knowledge of the phenomena involved in the manufacturing of the composite materials are required to implement proper control action on the parameters (e.g. pressure, resin flow rate, thermal cycle as well as inlet/vent locations) to optimize the process. In order to improve the impregnation of the preform and reduce the time required to fully fill the mold cavity an in-line microwave preheating system was developed. The aims was to couple a microwave generator upstream the LCM mold to heat up the resin prior the entry into the mold. Indeed, the temperature increasing reduces the liquid viscosity allowing the resin to flow more freely through the dry preform. To perform a thorough study on the effectiveness of the proposed approach a laboratory scale apparatus for liquid composite molding processes was designed. The system was instrumented with ad-hoc designed sensors to monitor the resin flow during the process. Cheaper dielectric sensors are designed, produced and installed on the mold. A numerical model was also developed to simulate the resin flow through the fibers preform. The numerica [...]
doi:10.14273/unisa-1323 fatcat:fdqvovxwcffapnlbtgktbomeia