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5.1 Fabrication techniques of composite materials
Various processes are available for making composite materials. The different
processes available for the fabrication of fiber-reinforced composites are
1) Hand lay-up
2) Vacuum bag moulding
3) Pressure bag moulding
4) Autoclave moulding:

5.1.1 Hand lay-up
Hand lay-up is the simplest process for making the composites laminates. The
selected fibers are wetted with resin and placed in the mould and entrapped air is removed
with rollers. Layers of glass and resin are added to build up to desired thickness and it is
normally allowed to cure at room temperature.

5. force out entrapped air and squeezes the excess resin. A suitable sealing material such as cellophane of nylon is placed over the lay-up and sealed at the edges. The component is first lay up in the mould with the resin. In pressure bag moulding higher pressure of the order of 100-mpa are possible.3 Pressure bag moulding In pressure bag moulding. over the layers.1. Vacuum is draw-in on the bag formed by the film.1.1. usually a rubber bag is placed over the lay-up and then at the pressure is applied to eliminate voids. to provide a permeable space between lay-up and bag for escape of evacuated air.2 Vacuum bag moulding In this method vacuum is used to eliminate voids and force out entrapped air and excess resin.41 Figure 5.1: Hand lay-up process 5. and a laminate is formed. A series of bleeders is placed. In this technique pressure less than atmosphere is possible .4 Autoclave moulding . 5. Laminate with better mechanical properties are obtained.

The peel ply will stick to the laminate. Most often it is used to give the laminate a rough. This process is called vacuum bagging. the laminates produced will have voids. and impregnated with some type of release agent. depending on your altitude and vacuum.3. odd shaped parts are moulded. Peel plies are a tightly woven fabric. often nylon. The entire operation is carried out in special equipment called autoclave.The autoclave moulding can be employed where. but it will pull away without to much difficulty. applying pressure or applying vacuum can overcome this.Preparation of moulds or dies are difficult to make or expensive in construction. which is essentially a pressure vessel with heating and evacuating equipment. . 5. heat and vacuum. and it usually passes a wet out test. Peel ply is optional.42 Autoclave moulding is similar to vacuum bag moulding and it is a modification of pressure bag moulding.1 Peel ply One the laminate is in place.3 Accessories 5. A vacuum bag provides both pressure up to 14. Autoclave moulding refers to the process of lying of reinforcing materials and resin matrix in required shape and quantity in suitable open moulds and effecting the polymerization of the product with simultaneous application of pressure. 5. But.7psi. This can be achieved through by bagging the laminates.2 Method adopted for fabrication Usually the laminates can be prepared by lay-up techniques. its time to apply the bag the first item to go down is a peel ply. cracks and may delaminate easily. finish. Many engineers consider this a bondable finish. rather than smooth.Large contoured.

43 Figure 5.2: Modeling methods and tooling .

or bondable both sides. which has been treated so it won’t bond to the laminate. prepared manufactures can recommend spacing for their particular products. it will trap air. The bleeder also acts as a breather.44 5.3 Bleeder and Breather At least one layer of bleeder cloth goes above the release film. or they might be small holes. which are punched out. This is a thin plastic. Bos can be used to create a permanent release layer on composites tools. and the release film we normally used for epoxies bonded to the coupons. they were preparing some cyan ate-ester test coupons. Choose spacing based on the amount of resin that needs to be bled out: wet lay-ups can use close spacing.3. providing a continuous air path for pulling the vacuum. The spacing can also vary from 2 inches to 8 inches. and net resin systems of course use imperforated release films. It purposes is to absorb excess resin. . The perforations might be like pin pricks. If the bag wrinkles agent against the hard lament. Bleeder is a thick. a few years ago. 5. it is often called peel ply). or as a moisture barrier on laminates. bbs). Not all release films are compatible with every resin system. The breather prevents this from happening. You can also get release film treated so it will bond to the laminate (bondable one side.2 Release film After the peel ply comes a layer of release film. felt like cloth. bos. Peel ply can be either a solid sheet.3. or it can have perforations (in the latter case. It is highly stretchable so it can conform to complex geometries.

Make sure you remember to attach the vacuum port (not shown in the figure) before closing the bag. 5. Plates will be required for anything but flat or simply curved structures. available in different amount of conformability.4 Bag The bag is the last item to be placed.45 The breather must be thick enough so that it does not become fully saturated with resin. cut a small cross in the bag for the attachment flange to fit through. As you move along the edge. It’s a relatively thick plastic layer. The base of the port goes inside the bag. The bag is usually applied along one edge at a time.3. . Start at one corner and press the bag in to the other corner. make sure there is a breather path from the port to the part. but preventing it makes the bag easier to remove. It does not hurt anything if that happens. a thick breather is also desirable to keep resin from coming in contact with the bag. Be careful not to get any wrinkles in the bag or it will leak. removing the release paper from the tape. If the tool has an area for the port. put several layers of breather under the port to prevent print through. If the port goes on the part itself.