Research Update for: A Method for Out-of-autoclave Fabrication of High Fiber Volume Fraction Fiber Reinforced Polymer Composites (ARL-TR-6057)

Report No. ARL-TN-0508
Authors: Larry R. Holmes, Jr.
Date/Pages: October 2012; 16 pages
Abstract: In an update to previous research, we have been increasing the fiber-volume fraction by Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) in order to produce composite structures with aerospace grade qualities. Of specific focus is the control of processing parameters during resin infusion to obtain fiber-volume fractions like those of autoclave processed composites. Using a combination of viscosity control, U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) based VARTM techniques, and a pressure control system, we have shown an increase in fiber-volume content from 50% (ARL's normal processing range for a particular material system and VARTM process) to over 60%. Future work will focus on continued processing improvements in order to achieve 65% fiber-volume fraction with this material system. It is shown that the increase in fiber-volume fraction provides for higher strength to weight ratios in composite parts while cutting the cost of fabrication. Processing characteristics will be presented, and evaluations will be discussed.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: October 1, 2012