1. Autoclave Molding Figure 3.

6 shows the vacuum bag lay-up sequence for a typical epoxy matrix prepreg composite. Different lay-up sequences can be used for other types of prepregs. 1. Thoroughly clean the aluminum plate (10) using acetone or a detergent. Then apply mold-release agent to the top surface of the aluminum plate twice. 2. Lay one sheet of Teflon film (1) and the peel-ply (2) (nonstick nylon cloth) on the aluminum plate. The Teflon film is used to release the lay-up from the aluminum plate, and the peel-ply is used to achieve the required surface finish on the laminate. Note: There should be no wrinkles or raised regions in the peelply, and its dimensions should be identical to those of the laminate. 3. Place the prepreg stack (3) on the plate, being sure to keep it at least 50 mm from each edge. Note: Do not cover up the vacuum connection in the plate.

4. Place a strip of the cork–rubber material (9) along each edge of the panel, making sure that no gaps exist and a complete dam is formed around the laminate. The dam around the lay-up prevents lateral motion of the panel, and minimizes resin flow parallel to the aluminum plate and through the edges of the laminate (9). 5. Completely encircle the prepreg stack and dam with bagging adhesive making sure that the adhesive material is adjacent to the dam. The purpose of the adhesive material is to form a vacuum seal. 6. Place a peel-ply (4) and a ply of Teflon-coated glass fabric (5) (with the same dimensions as the panel) on top of the prepreg stack. The purpose of the Teflon-coated glass fabric is to prevent the bleeder sheets (6) from sticking to the laminate. 7. Place the proper number of glass bleeder sheets (6) (e.g., style 181 glass cloth with the same dimensions as the prepreg stack) over the Teflon-coated fabric (5). The bleeder sheets absorb the excess resin from the laminate.

perforated on 50 mm centers. As the temperature is increased. .8. The pressureis held constant throughout the cure cycle to consolidate the plies until the resin in the laminate is in its glassy state at the end of the cooling phase. After closing the autoclave door. and store it for future use. the resin viscosity is at a minimum and pressure is applied to squeeze out excess resin. 13. Extend the cloth over the vacuum line attachment. Place the plate in the autoclave and attach the vacuum line (Figure 3.025 mm) over the bleeder material. The vent cloth provides a path for volatiles to escape when the vacuum is applied and achieves a uniform distribution of vacuum. are commonly achieved by electrically heating a pressurized inert gas nitrogen). Allow enough material so that the film conforms to all contours without being punctured. Place a porous continuous-vent cloth (8) (e.8. required for processing of the laminate.7).8). Carefully remove the laminate from the aluminum plate.. The vacuum is applied to achieve a uniform pressure on the laminate and draw out volatiles created during the cure. 9.and pressure-control system. at 127°C in Figure 3. prevents excess resin from saturating the vent cloth (8). Place a sheet of perforated Teflon film (7) (0. 16. 15. Turn on the vacuum pump and check for leaks. After the power is turned off to the autoclave. Maintain a vacuum of 650 to 750 mm of mercury for 20 min and check again for leaks. Loss of vacuum will result in a poorly consolidated laminate. The use of an inert gas will reduce oxidizing reactions that otherwise may occur in the resin at elevated temperatures. The elevated pressures and temperatures. Gently lift it in a direction parallel to the main principal direction of the laminate. 10. Thetemperature hold controls the rate of the chemical reaction and prevents degradation of the material by the exotherm. and will prevent explosion of evolving volatiles. At the end of the temperature hold.g. Clean the aluminum plate. An autoclave is generally a large pressure vessel equipped with a temperature. Place nylon bagging film over the entire plate. style 181 glass cloth) on top of the lay-up. apply the pressure and initiate the appropriate cure cycle (see example shown in Figure 3. 11. the resin viscosity decreases rapidly and the chemical reaction of the resin begins. maintain pressure until the inside temperature has dropped to about 100°C. 12. The Teflon film. and seal it against the bagging adhesive. 14. Make sure that the vacuum line is completely covered by the vent cloth. The vacuum should be checked throughout the cure cycle.

textile technology is typically utilized to assemble the preform. The process consists of four steps: fiber preform manufacture. mold filling. a thermosetting polymer of relatively low viscosity is used in the RTM process. cure.2 . Typically. but they are rare. Pressure is applied to . woven textile fabrics are often assembled into multilayer laminates that conform to the geometry of the tool. In the first step. and part removal. Braiding and stitching provide mechanisms for the creation of three-dimensional preform architectures. An extensive review of the resin transfer molding process can be found in Reference [12]. Resin Transfer Molding of Thermoset Composites Resin transfer molding (RTM) of composite laminates is a process where inthe dry-fiber preform is infiltrated with a liquid polymeric resin and the polymer is advanced to its final cure after the impregnation process is complete. There have been applications for thermoplastic polymers. For example.

Clearly. As this process proceeds and the cross-link network continues to grow. and polymer. where it possesses both viscous and elastic properties. heat transfer phenomena must be managed for successful RTM processes. as well . Therefore. After the polymer has fully impregnated the fiber preform. the lower the permeability. the greater the flow rate. This step will begin immediately upon injection of the polymer into the mold and will occur more rapidly if the mold is at an elevated temperature. Flow through the thickness of a fiber preform that contains many layers of unidirectional fibers will be quite different than flow in the planar directions. the flow rates in three mutually orthogonal directions will differ. The viscosity of most polymers is highly dependent on temperature and polymer cure kinetics are controlled by temperature as well. Otherwise trapped gases will lead to voids within the laminate. for a given pressure gradient. That is. Should gelation or vitrification (or both) occur prior to completion of mold filling and preform impregnation. It is important to vent the mold to the atmosphere to remove displaced gases from the fiber preform during the mold filling process.the fluid polymer to inject it into a mold containing the fiber preform. the instantaneous glass transition temperature of the polymer increases. Finally. the third step occurs: cure. it passes through a gelation phase wherein the polymer viscosity increases and transforms the polymer into a viscoelastic substance. the permeability of the preform depends on the fiber volume fraction of the preform. permeability is a tensor and exhibits anisotropic characteristics. Note also that because the fiber preforms typically exhibit different geometries in the three principal directions. and between tool. The flow of the fluid through the fiber preform is governed by Darcy’s Law [12]. In addition. and the inverse of the polymer viscosity. As the cure of the polymer advances to the creation of a cross-link network. The greater the volume fraction. vitrification of the polymer occurs when its glass transition temperature exceeds the laminate temperature. the resulting laminate will not be fully impregnated. Heat transfer between the polymer and the fiber preform. and the mold may have been preheated. wherein the velocity of the flow is equal to the product of the pressure gradient. preform. the preform permeability. the lower the polymer viscosity. and the greater the permeability. the greater the flow rate.

where one surface is bagged with a flexible film. atmospheric pressure is utilized to achieve consolidation and impregnation by vacuum bagging the laminate in the same way as discussed in Section 3. For processes in which final cure occurs after the mold is filled. The VARTM procedure for a representative flat 61. An example of open-mold RTM. The vacuum pump creates a pressure gradient of approximately 1 atm within the bag.5 cm picture frame using masking tape.as exothermic heat generation during the cure of the polymer.1. Remove the masking tape. create a 71 30. The tool is a flat aluminum plate with planar dimensions sufficient to accommodate the proposed composite panel. Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) Processing Both open-mold approaches. On the cleaned surface. completion of the cure can be carried out in an oven while atmospheric pressure is maintained on the impregnated laminate. In VARTM. First.64 cm panel (Figure 3. Apply several coats of release agent to the metal surface inside of the masked frame. . which is sufficient for the impregnation of laminates large in size and complex in geometry. Tool surface. and vacuum outlets are located some distance away.9) is described in the following steps: 1.1.0 30. clean the metal tool surface using sandpaper and acetone.5 0. process [12 3. vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) is a common method employed as an alternative to autoclave use. and closed-mold approaches to resin transfer molding are practiced. An inlet for the polymer is located at one or more points in the tool or bag. are three such phenomena that influence the].

No gap should exist between the silicon tape and fiber preform along the panel width to avoid providing a flow pathway outside the perform to the vacuum port. 5 cm in length.1 30. A 5. Add a strip of the tape.5 cm. Attach a 13-mm .3-cm gap should exist between the media and the sides of the preform.528.1 cm in length to overhang and contact the coated metal surface at the injection side of the lay-up. Cut one layer of porous release film to 66 30. This gap will force the resin to fill through the thickness rather than be drawn directly into the vacuum port. biplanar nylon 6 mesh to dimensions of 63. Spiral-wrap.2. Place the layers of media so that a 2.0 cm and stack them above the Armalon™ release cloth.Release cloth.1-cm gap should exist between the silicone tape and both edges of the preform to allow room for tubing.5cm gap exists on the top of the perform at the vacuum end.5 cm piece of release cloth. 18-mm-diameter conduit is an ideal choice for the distribution tubing because it allows the resin to flow quickly into the distribution media and preform in a continuous line across the width.Preform. A 1. Place the cloth so that it completely covers the preform and allow 5.5 cm away from the preform (vacuum). The length of this gap will vary with the desired thickness of the composite panel.5 cm in front of the preform (inlet) and 2. Cut a second piece of release cloth to 5. On the inlet side.5-cm intervals also works well. The silicone tape should again form a 71 30. inside the tape frame.3-cm-wide silicone bagging tape to the bare metal surface. This will help prevent resin flow outside the preform. Bagging tape. A 5-cm length of the media will overhang the preform at the resin inlet end of the lay-up. Place the fiber preform stack on the coated tool. 5. Place a 28. place the tubing on the 5 30.g. and place it on top of the preform. Leave the paper backing on the silicone tape to protect it during the remainder of the lay-up procedure. Cut one to six layers of highly permeable distribution media. 4.0-cm length of distribution tubing across the width of the laminate at points 2. 3. and place it on the tool surface at the vacuum side of the preform. e. 6. apply a 1. This patch of cloth provides a clear path for the vacuum.The release film will allow the composite laminate to release from the distribution media.5 cm. At the vacuum side..5 cm frame. In place of the masking tape. These two strips will provide an added adhesive surface for attachment of the inlet and outlet tubing. place the tubing on top of the distribution media that overhangs the preform.Distribution tubing.Distribution media. A plastic tube with holes at 2. to the outer edge of the length of the frame at either end.

5-cm-diameter roll of the silicone bagging tape.Resin supply and vacuum tubing. The spiral distribution tubing allows the resin to spread quickly . 8.I. Before infiltration can occur. Remove the clamp while the tube end is submerged to prevent any air entering the tube and the part ahead of the resin.Vacuum bag. the laminate should be fully evacuated to 762 mmHg using the vacuum pump. duPont de Nemours and Co.Resin infiltration. Leaks can be detected by using either a listening device or by clamping the vacuum line and using a vacuum gauge. 10. Perform degassing separately in a vacuum chamber. which catches any resin that might be pulled into the tube on its way to the vacuum pump. Even a small leak in the system may result in voids and poor consolidation of the final composite part. airtight joint when the bagging film is in place. With the bagged laminate under full vacuum.portion of the spiral tubing to both the inlet–supply tubing and the vacuumtubing using Kapton™ tape (E. the resin flows through the supply tubing and into the distribution tubing. All air bubbles must be removed prior to infiltration.5-cm-long sleeve of vacuum tape on the tube should match the tape frame and added strips that exist on the tool surface. Contain the resin in a bucket. the part can be bagged using an appropriate film. Connect the free end of the vacuum tubing to a resin trap. Take care to eliminate creases in the bag and ensure an airtight seal with the tool surface and silicone bagging tape. submerge the clamped end of the resin supply tubing in the degassed resin bucket. Embed the free end of the spiral tubing in a 2. the resin must be degassed to remove any air bubbles that were introduced during mixing. Once bagging is complete. With the laminate complete and the tubing in place. and then afix it to the strip of bagging tape forming the frame of the laminate. degassing can typically require 1 to 4 h. depending on temperature requirements) approximately 1.5 m in length to supply resin and draw vacuum on the laminate. depending on the resin viscosity. This 2. Tape one end of the tube to the distribution tubing inside of the bag. 9. 7.Resin degassing. Use flexible plastic tubing (vinyl or Teflon.). With the tube clamp removed. wind one layer of silicone vacuum tape twice about the outer surface of the tubing. At a point just past this taped interface. Clamp the free end of the resin supply tubing to ensure a temporary airtight seal. Attach the taped tubes to the tool at these locations and place two more 7-cm-long strips of tape on top of the tool and tape sealant to form a smooth.

Comparison of Processes Spray Lay –up . including the influence of each process on materials selection.. and heat it according to a cure cycle prescribed by the resin supplier. cost. as evidenced by resin beginning to enter the vacuum distribution tubing. Stop the resin flow by first clamping and severing the resin supply tubing and then clamping and severing the vacuum tubing. It is recommended that a second envelope bag be used to pull vacuum on the part during cure. 11. Manufacturing Processes Introduction Taking composite materials as a whole. place the vacuum-sealed part in an oven. there are many different material options to choose from in the areas of resins. toughness. all with their own unique set of properties such as strength. Finally. these clamps must provide an airtight seal. This section compares a few of the commonly used composite production methods and presents some of the factors to be borne in mind with each different process.Completion of infiltration. production rate etc. Halt the flow of resin when the preform is fully infiltrated. The distribution media provides the path for the resin to flow quickly down the length of the preform and then through the laminate thickness. fibres and cores.across the width of the lay-up as it enters the distribution media. heat resistance. the end properties of a composite part produced from these different materials is not only a function of the individual properties of the resin matrix and fibre (and in sandwich structures. The flow-front of resin through the part can be viewed through the bagging film. but is also a function of the way in which the materials themselves are designed into the part and also the way in which they are processed. Again. because any leaks during cure will result in poor consolidation of the part. stiffness. the core as well). However.

iii) Resins need to be low in viscosity to be sprayable. Main Advantages: i) Widely used for many years. Materials Options: Resins: Primarily polyester. ii) Low cost way of quickly depositing fibre and resin. Fibres: Glass roving only. iii) Low cost tooling. mechanical/thermal properties.Description Fibre is chopped in a hand-held gun and fed into a spray of catalysed resin directed at the mould. lightly loaded structural panels. iv) The high styrene contents of spray lay-up resins generally means that they have the potential to be more harmful and their lower viscosity means that they have an increased tendency to penetrate clothing etc. caravan bodies. Cores: None. Typical Applications: Simple enclosures. These have to be incorporated separately. truck fairings. e. This generally compromises their . (v) Limiting airborne styrene concentrations to legislated levels is becoming increasingly difficult. The deposited materials are left to cure under standard atmospheric conditions. Main Disadvantages: i) Laminates tend to be very resin-rich and therefore excessively heavy. ii) Only short fibres are incorporated which severely limits the mechanical properties of the laminate.g. bathtubs. shower trays. some small dinghies.

knitted. iii) Low cost tooling. The lower viscosity of the resins also means that they have an increased tendency to penetrate clothing etc. e. Low resin content laminates cannot usually be achieved without the incorporation of excessive quantities of voids. epoxy. This is usually ccomplished by rollers or brushes.g. and longer fibres than with spray lay-up. and laminate quality are very dependent on the skills of laminators. v) Higher fibre contents. vinylester.Wet Lay-up/Hand Lay-up Description Resins are impregnated by hand into fibres which are in the form of woven. laminate resin contents. stitched or bonded fabrics. Main Disadvantages: i) Resin mixing. Main Advantages: i) Widely used for many years. with an increasing use of nip-roller type impregnators for forcing resin into the fabrics by means of rotating rollers and a bath of resin. Cores: Any. Fibres: Any. if room-temperature cure resins are used. Materials Options: Resins: Any. The lower molecular weights of hand lay-up resins generally means that they have the potential to be more harmful than higher molecular weight products. ii) Simple principles to teach. phenolic. Laminates are left to cure under standard atmospheric conditions. although heavy aramid fabrics can be hard to wet-out by hand. iv) Wide choice of suppliers and material types. . ii) Health and safety considerations of resins. polyester.

ii) Lower void contents are achieved than with wet lay-up. Main Advantages: i) Higher fibre content laminates can usually be achieved than with standard wet lay-up techniques. Cores: Any.iii) Limiting airborne styrene concentrations to legislated levels from polyesters and vinylesters is becoming increasingly hard without expensive extraction systems. This is achieved by sealing a plastic film over the wet laid-up laminate and onto the tool. Materials Options: Resins: Primarily epoxy and phenolic. iv) Health and safety: The vacuum bag reduces the amount of volatiles emitted during cure. iii) Better fibre wet-out due to pressure and resin flow throughout structural fibres. Fibres: The consolidation pressures mean that a variety of heavy fabrics can be wet-out. This generally compromises their mechanical/thermal properties due to the need for high diluent/styrene levels. with excess into bagging materials. iv) Resins need to be low in viscosity to be workable by hand. Polyesters and vinylesters may have problems due to excessive extraction of styrene from the resin by the vacuum pump. Main Disadvantages: i) The extra process adds cost both in labour and in disposable bagging materials ii) A higher level of skill is required by the operators iii) Mixing and control of resin content still largely determined by operator skill . production boats. Typical Applications: Standard wind-turbine blades. Description This is basically an extension of the wet lay-up process described above where pressure is applied to the laminate once laid-up in order to improve its consolidation. The air under the bag is extracted by a vacuum pump and thus up to one atmosphere of pressure can be applied to the laminate to consolidate it. architectural mouldings.

g. Filament Winding techniques Description This process is primarily used for hollow. one-off cruising boats. ii) Fibre cannot easily be laid exactly along the length of a component. Fibre tows are passed through a resin bath before being wound onto a mandrel in a variety of orientations. core-bonding in production boats. iv) The external surface of the component is unmoulded. such as pipes and tanks. although components are usually single skin. phenolic. e. Cores: Any. v) Low viscosity resins usually need to be used with their attendant lower mechanical and health and safety properties. and therefore cosmetically unattractive. racecar components. The fibres are used straight from a creel and not woven or stitched into a fabric form. Fibres: Any. . epoxy. generally circular or oval sectioned components. Main Advantages: i) This can be a very fast and therefore economic method of laying material down. Main Disadvantages: i) The process is limited to convex shaped components. vinylester. and rate of rotation of the mandrel. polyester.Typical Applications: Large. iii) Fibre cost is minimised since there is no secondary process to convert fibre into fabric prior to use. controlled by the fibre feeding mechanism. Materials Options: Resins: Any. iv) Structural properties of laminates can be very good since straight fibres can be laid in a complex pattern to match the applied loads. iii) Mandrel costs for large components can be high. ii) Resin content can be controlled by metering the resin onto each fibre tow through nips or dies.

a variant known as ‘pulforming’ allows for some variation to be introduced into the cross-section. ii) Resin content can be accurately controlled. The process pulls the materials through the die for impregnation. Fibres: Any. Although pultrusion is a continuous process. way of impregnating and curing materials. vinylester and phenolic. Main Advantages: i) This can be a very fast. Cores: Not generally used. polyester.Typical Applications: Chemical storage tanks and pipelines. iv) Structural properties of laminates can be very good since the profiles have very straight fibres and high fibre volume fractions can be obtained. . and therefore economic. iii) Fibre cost is minimised since the majority is taken from a creel. fire-fighters breathing tanks. This makes the process non-continuous. Fabrics may also be introduced into the die to provide fibre direction other than at 0. This cured profile is then automatically cut to length. producinga profile of constant cross-section. Pultrusion Description Fibres are pulled from a creel through a resin bath and then on through a heated die. Materials Options: Resins: Generally epoxy. v) Resin impregnation area can be enclosed thus limiting volatile emissions. and then clamps them in a mould for curing. gas cylinders. but accommodating of small changes in cross-section. The die completes the impregnation of the fibre. controls the resin content and cures the material into its final shape as it passes through the die.

ladders. frameworks. vinylester and phenolic. Cores: Not honeycombs.Main Disadvantages: i) Limited to constant or near constant cross-section components ii) Heated die costs can be high. Both injection and cure can take place at either ambient or elevated temperature. and held together by a binder. Materials Options: Resins: Generally epoxy. These fabrics are sometimes pre-pressed to the mould shape. and environmental control due to enclosure of resin. and resin is injected into the cavity. although high temperature resins such as bismaleimides can be used at elevated process temperatures. since cells would fill with resin. Typical Applications: Beams and girders used in roof structures. Vacuum can also be applied to the mould cavity to assist resin in being drawn into the fabrics. polyester. Some specially developed fabrics can assist with resin flow. and the laminate is allowed to cure. bridges. . and pressures involved can crush some foams. A second mould tool is then clamped over the first. Main Advantages: i) High fibre volume laminates can be obtained with very low void contents. Stitched materials work well in this process since the gaps allow rapid resin transport. the resin inlets are closed. ii) Good health and safety. These ‘preforms’ are then more easily laid into the mould tool. Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) Description Fabrics are laid up as a dry stack of materials. Once all the fabric is wet out. Fibres: Any. This is known as Vacuum Assisted Resin Injection (VARI).

iii) Possible labour reductions. polyester and vinylester. and less strength being required in the main tool. The resin distribution over the whole laminate is aided by resin flowing easily through the non-structural fabric. Other Infusion Processes . and heavy in order to withstand pressures. ii) Generally limited to smaller components. The fibre stack is then covered with peel ply and a knitted type of non-structural fabric. Description Fabrics are laid up as a dry stack of materials as in RTM. Cores: Any except honeycombs. Fibres: Any conventional fabrics. and once bag leaks have been eliminated. resin is allowed to flow into the laminate. Stitched materials work well in this process since the gaps allow rapid resin transport. Materials Options: Resins: Generally epoxy. ii) Much lower tooling cost due to one half of the tool being a vacuum bag. Main Advantages: i) As RTM above.SCRIMP. except only one side of the component has a moulded finish. Typical Applications: Small complex aircraft and automotive components. Main Disadvantages: i) Matched tooling is expensive. iv) Both sides of the component have a moulded surface. and wetting the fabric out from above. . VARTM etc. iii) Unimpregnated areas can occur resulting in very expensive scrap parts. The whole dry stack is then vacuum bagged. RIFT. train seats.

The catalyst is largely latent at ambient temperatures giving the materials several weeks. iv) Standard wet lay-up tools may be able to be modified for this process.iii) Large components can be fabricated. train and truck body panels. The resin is usually a near-solid at ambient temperatures. Unidirectional materials take fibre direct from a creel. and so the pre-impregnated materials (prepregs) have a light sticky feel to them. and are held together by the resin alone. The prepregs are laid up by hand or machine onto a mould surface. v) Cored structures can be produced in one operation. Prepregs Description Fabrics and fibres are pre-impregnated by the materials manufacturer. such as that of adhesive tape. phenolic and high temperature resins such as polyimides. cyanate esters and bismaleimides. iv) Some elements of this process are covered by patents (SCRIMP). with a pre-catalysed resin. This allows the resin to initially reflow and eventually to cure. iii) Unimpregnated areas can occur resulting in very expensive scrap parts. . thus comprising mechanical properties. under heat and pressure or with solvent. of useful life when defrosted. Materials Options: Resins: Generally epoxy. polyester. Typical Applications: Semi-production small yachts. vacuum bagged and then heated to typically 120-180C. However to prolong storage life the materials are stored frozen. ii) Resins must be very low in viscosity. or sometimes months. Additional pressure for the moulding is usually provided by an autoclave (effectively a pressurised oven) which can apply up to 5 atmospheres to the laminate. Main Disadvantages: i) Relatively complex process to perform well.

complex lay-ups can be readily achieved.ess to convert fibre into fabric prior to use. iii) Fibre cost is minimised in unidirectional tapes since there is no secondary proc. wings and tail sections). v) The extended working times (of up to several months at room temperatures) means that structurally optimised.Fibres: Any. ii) Autoclaves are usually required to cure the component. ] Description Low Temperature Curing prepregs are made exactly as conventional prepregs but have resin chemistries that allow cure to be achieved at temperatures from 60-100C.g. Main Advantages: i) Resin/catalyst levels and the resin content in the fibre are accurately set by the materials manufacturer. with the high viscosity resins being impregnable due to the manufacturing process. iv) Resin chemistry can be optimised for mechanical and thermal performance. Cores: Any. iii) Tooling needs to be able to withstand the process temperatures involved iv) Core materials need to be able to withstand the process temperatures and pressures. sporting goods such as tennis racquets and skis. but above this working times can be as long as several months. F1 racing cars. vi) Potential for automation and labour saving. Main Disadvantages: i) Materials cost is higher for preimpregnated fabrics. the working life of the material may be limited to as little as a week. ii) The materials have excellent health and safety characteristics and are clean to work with. High fibre contents can be safely achieved. At 60C. slow to operate and limited in size. The . These are expensive. Typical Applications: Aircraft structural components (e. although special types of foam need to be used due to the elevated temperatures involved in the process. Used either direct from a creel or as any type of fabric.

iv) Conventional PVC foam core materials can be used. iv) Still an energy cost associated with above-ambient cure temperature.flow profiles of the resin systems allow for the use of vacuum bag pressures alone. avoiding the need for autoclaves. iii) Large structures can be readily made since only vacuum bag pressure is required. large racing and cruising yachts. As for conventional prepregs. train components. and heating to these lower temperatures can be achieved with simple hot-air circulated ovens. ii) An oven and vacuum bagging system is required to cure the component. can be used due to the lower cure temperatures involved. rescue craft. although standard PVC foam needs special care. ii) Cheaper tooling materials. Description . often built in-situ over the component. Main Advantages: i) All of the advantages ((i)-(vi)) associated with the use of conventional prepregs are incorporated in lowtemperature curing prepregs. such as wood. iii) Tooling needs to be able to withstand above-ambient temperatures involved (typically 60-100C). Typical Applications: High-performance wind-turbine blades. Materials Options: Resins: Generally only epoxy. v) Lower energy cost. Cores: Any. providing certain procedures are followed. Main Disadvantages: i) Materials cost is still higher than for non-preimpregnated fabrics. Fibres: Any.

with most of the advantages. iv) Potentially lower cost than prepreg. iv) Core materials need to be able to withstand the process temperatures and pressures. ii) An oven and vacuum bagging system is required to cure the component as for prepreg. Cores: Most. ii) Good health and safety and a clean lay-up. although the autoclave systems used by the aerospace industry are not always required. Fibres: Any. Main Advantages: i) High fibre volumes can be accurately achieved with low void contents. istypically 60-100C).Dry fabrics are laid up interleaved with layers of semi-solid resin film supplied on a release paper. and then after a certain time. to cure. iii) Tooling needs to be able to withstand the process temperatures of the resin film ( which if using similar resin to those in low-temperature curing prepregs. Note: For netting analysis refer class notes . v) Less likelihood of dry areas than SCRIMP process due to resin travelling through fabric thickness only. iii) High resin mechanical properties due to solid state of initial polymer material and elevated temperature cure. like prepreg. Typical Applications: Aircraft radomes and submarine sonar domes. Main Disadvantages: i) Not widely proven outside the aerospace industry. Materials Options: Resins: Generally epoxy only. The lay-up is vacuum bagged to remove air through the dry fabrics. although PVC foam needs special procedures due to the elevated temperatures involved in the process. and then heated to allow the resin to first melt and flow into the air-free fabrics.

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