Paper number 183


Baoxing Chen1, Eric J. Lang2, and Tsu-Wei Chou1

1 Center for Composite Materials and Department of Mechanical Engineering
University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, U.S.A
2 The Why Not Corp., 743 W. Sparrow Rd., Springfield, OH 45502, U.S.A

Summary The compaction behavior of fabric preforms in resin transfer molding (RTM) process has been investigated. Compaction experiments were carried out for three types of preforms, continuous strand mat, plain woven fabric, and a unidirectional knitted material. Five main factors affecting the properties of finished parts in RTM process are identified first, and their influences on the compaction behavior of the preforms are then discussed. The theoretical part of this paper focuses on improving the simplified 3D micro-mechanical model proposed recently by the authors. Analytical expressions for the relations among the fiber volume fraction, the applied compressive force, and the preform thickness reduction, have been established using the improved model, which is suitable for any type of pressure distribution at contacting regions between adjacent fabrics. As examples, closed from solutions have been obtained for uniform, linear, and sinusoidal pressure distributions. The improved model and the simplified model are compared and discussed.
Keywords fabrics, resin transfer molding, woven composites, compaction.

Theme : Processing, Integrated Design and Manufacturing

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