Flow channels/fiber impregnation studies for the process modeling/analysis of complex engineering structures manufactured by resin transfer molding

R. V. Mohan, D. R. Shires, Kumar K Tamma, N. D. Ngo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

The success of resin transfer molding (RTM) depends upon the complete wetting of the fiber preform. Effective mold designs and process modifications facilitating the improved impregnation of the preform have direct impact on the successful manufacturing of parts. Race tracking caused by variations in permeabilities around bends, corners in liquid composite molding (LCM) processes such as RTM have been traditionally considered undesirable, while related processes such as vacuum assisted RTM (VARTM) and injection molding have employed flow channels to improve the resin distribution. In this paper, studies on the effect of flow channels are explored for RTM through process simulation studies involving flow analysis of resin, when channels are involved. The flow in channels has been modeled and characterized based on equivalent permeabilities. The flow in the channels is taken to be Darcian as in the fiber preform, and process modeling and simulation tools for RTM have been employed to study the flow and pressure behavior when channels are involved. Simulation studies based on a flat plate indicated that the pressures in the mold are reduced with channels, and have been compared with experimental results and equivalent permeability models. Experimental comparisons validate the reduction in pressures with channels and validate the use of equivalent permeability models. Numerical simulation studies show the positive effect of the channels to improve flow impregnation and reduce the mold pressures. Studies also include geometrically complex parts to demonstrate the positive advantages of flow channels in RTM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)527-542
Number of pages16
JournalPolymer Composites
Volume19
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

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