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Aspects of flow and compaction of laminated composite shapes during cure

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Title: Aspects of flow and compaction of laminated composite shapes during cure
Author: Hubert, Pascal
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Materials Engineering
Copyright Date: 1996
Abstract: Cost-effective manufacturing has become the primary objective for many industries using composite materials in primary structures. To realize this objective, it is often desired to use process modelling, as it helps understand the interaction between the parameters affecting the product quality. Among the multitude of phenomena occurring during composites processing, resin flow is a critical issue. It affects the fibre volume fraction distribution, the mechanical properties of the laminate and the final dimensions of the part. For thermoset matrix composites, the percolation flow approach is typically used to model flow and compaction. In this approach, the resin flows relative to the fibres and the flow has to be coupled with the fibre bed compaction behaviour to obtain the final shape of the laminate. In the present work, a percolation flow-compaction model is implemented in a two-dimensional finite element processing model for complex shapes such as angles or hat sections. Material properties required for the flow-compaction model, such as resin viscosity and the fibre bed compaction curve are measured for two carbon-epoxy composites: AS4/3501-6 and AS4/8552. An experimental technique to measure the fibre bed compaction curve directly from the prepreg is presented. The fibre bed compaction curves are validated with results from uniaxial compaction tests. The flow-compaction model is used to study the effect of a variation of the material properties on the compaction of angle laminates. The results from this sensitivity analysis show that the compaction curve significantly affects the final laminate thickness while the fibre bed shear modulus controls the ability of the fibres to conform to a curvilinear shape. A series of angle laminates were cured to study the effect of fibre orientation, bagging conditions, material and tool type on compaction behaviour. Simulations of the angle laminates in bleed conditions are in good agreement with the experiments. However, the model does not predict the experimentally observed magnitude of the deformation at the corner of the [90°] layup. This behaviour is attributed to shear flow, where the fibres and the resin move together as a very viscous anisotropic fluid. Direct observations of the compaction behaviour during transverse flow are presented. They confirm the kinematic relations used in shear flow theory and show that friction is present at the plate-laminate interface. Next, the conditions required to produce percolation or shear flow are investigated in a simple uniaxial compaction experiment. Fibre orientation and resin viscosity are the primary variables determining the dominant flow mechanism. Shear flow is primarily affected by the fibre orientation and occurs essentially in the direction perpendicular to the fibres. Percolation flow depends on the resin viscosity and occurs mainly in the direction where shear flow is not possible.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/6139
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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