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Polymers 2018, 10(9), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10090992

Fabrication of High Quality, Large Wet Lay-Up/Vacuum Bag Laminates by Sliding a Magnetic Tool

School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
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Received: 5 August 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 5 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Materials and Methods for New Technologies in Polymer Processing)
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Abstract

This study presents a novel method to fabricate high-quality, large composite parts which can be used in a wet lay-up/vacuum bag (WLVB) process. The new method utilizes a commercial lifting magnet, which is commonly used for transporting ferrous plates, to apply a magnetic consolidation pressure on the WLVB composite lay-up. The pressure is applied on a large area of the laminate by slowly sliding the magnet over the vacuum bag surface, which leads to an improved laminate quality. When further improvement is desirable, multiple passes of the magnet can be performed, where each pass successively compacts the lay-up. To explore the feasibility of implementing this technique, random mat and plain weave glass/epoxy laminates were fabricated, and their properties compared to conventional WLVB laminates. The effects of the number of moving passes of the lifting magnet on the laminate microstructure and properties are also investigated. As a result of multiple passes, the fiber volume fraction in random mat and plain weave laminates increases to 34% and 53%, representing 80% and 16% improvements, respectively. In addition, the void volume fraction reduces almost by 60% to a very low level of 0.7% and 1.1%, respectively. Consequently, the flexural properties considerably enhance by 20–81%, which demonstrates the potential of the proposed method to produce WLVB parts with substantially higher quality. It is also shown that there exists an optimal number of passes, depending on the fabric type where additional passes induce new voids as a result of excessive resin removal. View Full-Text
Keywords: polymer-matrix composites; consolidation; lifting magnet; wet lay-up/vacuum bagging; mechanical properties polymer-matrix composites; consolidation; lifting magnet; wet lay-up/vacuum bagging; mechanical properties
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Sussmann, M.; Amirkhosravi, M.; Pishvar, M.; Altan, M.C. Fabrication of High Quality, Large Wet Lay-Up/Vacuum Bag Laminates by Sliding a Magnetic Tool. Polymers 2018, 10, 992.

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