A Fully Contained Resin Infusion Process for Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Composite Fabrication and Repair

Report No. ARL-TR-6313
Authors: Larry R. Holmes, Jr.
Date/Pages: January 2013; 22 pages
Abstract: In laboratory or manufacturing conditions, the Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) process is applicable for fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite fabrication and repair. However, VARTM in not optimal for in-field processing or repair due to the precision required in measuring and mixing, and the need to remain contaminate free. Current repair constraints require damaged FRP composites to be returned to repair depots resulting in excessive cost. One solution to this costly scenario is a fully enclosed VARTM system that limits the need for laboratory or manufacturing equipment. The Bladder-Bag VARTM (BBVARTM) technique provides the in-field user a fully contained FRP composite processing method which uses premeasured resin stored in portable bladder. The resin bladder has an internal bag containing the curing agent, which is ruptured and kneaded in order to mix the resin and curing agent. The bladder bag is placed under vacuum with the fabric to be infiltrated, and ruptures under mechanical means. The matrix material penetrates the fabric, which will then cure into the desired FRP composite structure. This technique has direct soldier impact as it allows for the fabrication of resininfused parts in non-laboratory locations and is a fully enclosed and safe process for in-field composite repair.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: January 1, 2013