Process modelling of thermoset composites
The process modelling of autoclave composites has received much attention over the years. This thesis concentrates on two types of processes namely the prepreg processing method and the resin infusion processing method. The work focuses on the modelling and simulation of the resin flow, heat transfer and cure processes of the composites during processing. The Hercules 3501-6/AS4 composite was chosen for the simulation and the data for its thermal properties was obtained from Loos and Springer . The composite is considered as a multilayered system consisting of prepregs or dry fibre layers with alternate layers of resin. A similarity analysis for the prepreg process was carried out allowing the velocity field, in both the prepreg and the resin, to be analytically determined. This then permitted the temperature and the degree of cure to be computed numerically. A similar, but different analysis was then carried out for the resin film infusion process, allowing the temperature and rate of cure to be computed directly. The simulation results of the prepreg case of Hercules 3501-6/AS4 were compared to known experimental results and good agreement has been found. Experimental work was performed on the flow dynamics of the resin infusion case and good agreement has also been observed.