For vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM), we propose adding a cover mold, inserted between the distribution medium and the peel ply, to achieve a higher fiber volume fraction in the final product. As the conventional VARTM process does not use a cover mold, improved processes using different rigid covers were explored. A three-dimensional digital image correlation system was developed to monitor the thickness evolution of the vacuum package during the infusion stage. This system was validated as a full-field displacement test. The results demonstrate that there are three advantages to using a cover mold. First, in the filling stage, a rigid cover mold can prevent shrinkage of the part at the resin flow front, and even cause slight expansion of the unsaturated part. This improves the resin flow and shortens the time required for complete infusion. Second, a cover mold can limit the amount of excess resin needed to infuse the saturated part. Third, in the postfilling stage, the cover mold can be used to accelerate extrusion of the excess resin in the package. The overall effect is to increase the fiber volume fraction in the final product.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ceramics and Composites
- Polymers and Plastics
- Materials Chemistry