Evaluation of Preformable Reinforcement Materials 890196
Composite materials present automotive designers with unique opportunities for reduction of weight and increased performance when applied to vehicle structures. In addition these materials, through large-scale part integration, may also enable cost effective low volume production of derivative vehicles likely to be desired in the future marketplace. The development and demonstration of rapid composite processing techniques which provide cost effective manufacture of such structures is a requirement for the exploitation of the technology.
A key process currently being investigated is High Speed Resin Transfer Molding (HSRTM). In HSRTM resin is injected into a heated tool that contains a three dimensional glass preform in the net shape of the final part. At this time, fabrication of the preform itself appears to be the major barrier for near-term implementation of this process. Currently most preforming of complex three dimensional shapes has been done with a cut and place process. Stamping a preform using performable reinforcement materials is an alternative technique being investigated to increase the speed and reduce the cost of HSRTM preforms. This paper will discuss the evaluation of five different preformable reinforcement materials, two cut and place and three stampable materials. After preforming, each material was tested for tensile strength and tensile modulus. Data for samples tested at lab ambient and for samples subjected to a programmed environmental exposure are presented.