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A Dimensionless Characteristic Number for Process Selection and Mold Design in Composites Manufacturing: Part II—Applications

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Research Center for High Performance Polymer and Composite Systems (CREPEC), Polytechnique Montréal, 2900 Blvd. Edouard Montpetit, Montréal, QC H3T 1J4, Canada
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J. Compos. Sci. 2020, 4(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcs4010010
Received: 14 November 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 13 January 2020 / Published: 18 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers in Journal of Composites Science in 2019)
The dimensionless “injectability number” was devised to assist composite engineers in the fabrication of continuous fiber composites by Liquid Composite Molding (LCM), i.e., by injecting a liquid polymer resin through a fibrous reinforcement contained in a mold cavity. Part I of this article introduced the injectability number as the integral of the ratio of the injection pressure to the resin viscosity over the cavity filling time and analyzed the theoretical aspects behind this new concept. For a given mold configuration and reinforcement material characteristics, the invariance of the injectability number with regard to process parameters was demonstrated, and an initial verification in unidirectional injection cases was conducted. Part II completes the analysis by evaluating the injectability number in more complex application cases, confirming its invariance properties. The investigation, which was carried out using numerical simulations of different LCM processes and injection strategies, examined the fabrication of various composite parts: a rectangular laminate, a hood for automotive applications, a reservoir box and a fuselage section for the aerospace industry. The results indicate that more efficient injection strategies lead to lower values of the injectability number, thus enabling the use of this dimensionless number as a tool to assess the difficulty to manufacture a given part by LCM as well as to guide process selection and compare different mold configurations. View Full-Text
Keywords: continuous fiber composites; resin injection; RTM; process design; mold complexity continuous fiber composites; resin injection; RTM; process design; mold complexity
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Di Fratta, C.; Sun, Y.; Causse, P.; Trochu, F. A Dimensionless Characteristic Number for Process Selection and Mold Design in Composites Manufacturing: Part II—Applications. J. Compos. Sci. 2020, 4, 10.

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