Vacuum Infusion in Composites Manufacturing
The principle of vacuum infusion is the process of injecting resin into a composite system to fill the laminate without the need for an oven or tooling. The infusion process is optimized for various factors like resin volume, flow rate, and proper air removal from the extremities of the part.
In composites manufacturing, infusion is widely used for large parts, such as wind blades and nacelles, boat manufacturing, large industrial parts and in some aerospace components. It is adopted for these applications in part because of its environmentally friendly attribute of virtually no emissions.
Infusion is generally applied at room or low temperature, up to 40 degrees Celsius. For infusion at room temperature, the following process materials for infusion are available from Aerovac, an experienced manufacturer and trusted supplier of high-quality vacuum bagging and process materials. Each material plays an important purpose in the infusion process in achieving a high-quality part outcome. For example, flow media helps control the even release of resin into the part while release films and peel plies enable easy removal during demolding and protection of the tooling and end parts.
- Sealant tape
- Peel ply
- Release film
- Flow media
- Resin feeder lines
- Vacuum bagging films
- Vacuum lines and hoses
- Resin hoses
Infusion benefits many industries
The aerospace segment uses vacuum infusion technologies to produce major structural components such as composite wings. While the composites industry has traditionally used low-temperature infusion applications, there is ongoing development, particularly in the aerospace segment, for high-temperature infusion. Aerospace composites manufacturers are exploring structural infusion resin systems that can be infused at 120 degrees Celsius and cured at 180 degrees Celsius.
Infusion is also well suited for manufacturing applications in the marine industry, particularly for producing large parts, like hulls and decks.
Wind energy is another segment that actively leverages infusion technology. A high-quality vacuum infusion process is increasingly important to ensure quality and control as wind blades grow in length. With innovative process materials used during the infusion process, manufacturers can control resin flow and remove air voids during infusion to produce next-generation wind turbine blades.
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