Paper number 895


Abdul Razak Rahmat1 and Richard.J.Day1

1Manchester Materials Science Centre, UMIST, Grosvenor Street,
Manchester M1 7HS

Summary The application of microwave energy in the processing of polymers and composites offers significant advantages over conventional processing technologies in reduced process time and cost. Resin transfer moulding (RTM) is one of the composite fabrication processes that can suffer because of the slow curing time of many thermosetting polymers. This paper reports an investigation in which microwave technology was incorporated into the process. One simple approach to enable microwave heating of a resin transfer moulding is to make the mould microwave transparent. Using Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) it was found that an unsaturated polyester resin cured much faster in the microwave than in the oven. Identically shaped plots of styrene vinyl conversion versus polyester vinyl conversion for both microwave and oven curing suggest that the reaction mechanisms for materials prepared by the two routes are similar. Flexural modulus and strength of the composite samples obtained using microwave heating were higher than those of thermally cured composites.
Keywords resin transfer moulding, microwave heating, aramid fibre, polyester resin.

Theme : Processing, Integrated Design and Manufacturing

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