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Variable cavity volume tooling for high-performance resin infusion moulding

By Gregory John Gibbons, Juan Jose Segui-Garza and Robert George Hansell


This article describes the research carried out by Warwick under the BAE Systems/EPSRC programme ‘Flapless Aerial Vehicles Integrated Interdisciplinary Research – FLAVIIR’. Warwick's aim in FLAVIIR was to develop low-cost innovative tooling technologies to enable the affordable manufacture of complex composite aerospace structures and to help realize the aim of the Grand Challenge of maintenance-free, low-cost unmanned aerial vehicle manufacture. This article focuses on the evaluation of a novel tooling process (variable cavity tooling) to enable the complete infusion of resin throughout non-crimp fabric within a mould cavity under low (0.1 MPa) injection pressure. The contribution of the primary processing parameters to the mechanical properties of a carbon composite component (bulk-head lug section), and the interactions between parameters, was determined. The initial mould gap (di) was identified as having the most significant effect on all measured mechanical properties, but complex interactions between di, n (number of fabric layers), and vc (mould closure rate) were observed. The process capability was low due to the manual processing, but was improved through process optimization, and delivered properties comparable to high-pressure resin transfer moulding

Topics: TS, TJ
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3382

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