1991-04-01

Automotive/Aerospace Synergism in Computer-Aided Composite Processing 911120

In-mold dielectric cure monitoring techniques pioneered by the aerospace industry were applied to the manufacturing process of LITEFLEX R springs. Real-time data was collected in-situ and used to interpret the progression of cure in an epoxy/fiberglass composite. This information was used to trigger mold pressurization in an attempt to lower void content and improve part appearance.A microdielectric sensor placed on the mold surface collected temperature and conductivity data that was converted to a cure percentage scale (cure index). The optimum pressurization point for the epoxy system was at approximately 40% conversion. Although results varied somewhat depending on spring geometry, void contents were reduced to less than 1%. Composite shear strength increased 10-15%. Surface appearance was also significantly improved.

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