Verification of a three-dimensional resin transfer molding process simulation model
Experimental evidence was obtained to complete the verification of the parameters needed for input to a three-dimensional finite element model simulating the resin flow and cure through an orthotropic fabric preform. The material characterizations completed include resin kinetics and viscosity models, as well as preform permeability and compaction models.
The steady-state and advancing front permeability measurement methods are compared. The results indicate that both methods yield similar permeabilities for a plain weave, bi-axial fiberglass fabric. Also, a method to determine principal directions and permeabilities is discussed and results are shown for a multi-axial warp knit preform.
The flow of resin through a blade-stiffened preform was modeled and experiments were completed to verify the results. The predicted inlet pressure was approximately 65% of the measured value. A parametric study was performed to explain differences in measured and predicted flow front advancement and inlet pressures.
Furthermore, PR-500 epoxy resinlIM7 8HS carbon fabric flat panels were fabricated by the Resin Transfer Molding process. Tests were completed utilizing both perimeter injection and center-port injection as resin inlet boundary conditions. The mold was instrumented with FDEMS sensors, pressure transducers, and thermocouples to monitor the process conditions. Results include a comparison of predicted and measured inlet pressures and flow front position. For the perimeter injection case, the measured inlet pressure and flow front results compared well to the predicted results. The results of the center-port injection case showed that the predicted inlet pressure was approximately 50% of the measured inlet pressure. Also, measured flow front position data did not agree well with the predicted results. Possible reasons for error include fiber deformation at the resin inlet and a lag in FDEMS sensor wet-out due to low mold pressures.