1995-07-01

Electron Beam Cured Composites for Cryogenic Tanks 951722

In the frame of military programmes, AEROSPATIALE, developed, for ballistic missiles (motor cases wound structures), an original process of composites curing. This process, now utilized on an industrial basis is the Electron Beam Curing (EBC, sometimes called ionization, or irradiation curing). EBC is based on the composite's resin polymerization caused by its exposure under a powerful enough electron beam.
Originally, this process was developed for costs saving reasons, as an economical alternative to the conventional thermal curing process. This objective having been achieved, an other incentive was found to the use of such a technology. As a matter of fact, this process offers the outstanding advantage of being a “room temperature” process. The electron beam acts directly on resins molecular structure to bring about its polymerization, no heating of the part is necessary. Thus, the usual problems encountered with conventional thermal curing (differential expansions of tools, or metallic inserts, exothermal reactions inside the composites, to recall the main ones) are eliminated or drastically alleviated. Hence, designs of composite parts, which were “forbidden” with conventional thermally cured composites are now feasible.

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