The Closed Mold Process Helps Control Fiber Volume
Closed mold processes of composite materials manufacturing have a variety of benefits both for the manufacturer and the consumer. In addition to creating materials that have qualities like high strength, lightness and corrosion resistance, this process also allows manufacturers to control the volume of composite fibers in a given material batch.
How Closed Mold Processes Work
The closed mold process of composite material production combines composite fibers and resins in precisely calculated proportions. These materials are cured inside a two-sided mold or inside of a vacuum bag. The molds or bags are used to eliminate the possibility of the composite material coming into contact with air during the curing process. The process is capable of creating complex, smoothly finished shapes that are identical to one another.
Closed Mold Processes Allows Close Control of the Composite Fiber Volume
One of the many benefits of the closed mold process is that it is much easier to control the composite fiber volumes in the finished materials with this process. Fiber volumes are important due to the fact that they can directly affect the properties of the finished composite material. Some of the properties that fiber volume effects include:
- Failure mode
- Matrix cracking stress
- Interfacial shear stress
In order to positively affect these composite material properties, fiber volumes in most high performance composite laminates have a volume of between 55% and 62.5%, though volumes of up to 65% are technically possible with some closed mold processes. These restrictions on fiber volume are imposed so that the composite fibers do not come into contact with one another or damage each other during the molding process, either of which could degrade the overall strength of the composite laminate.
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