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Research Papers

Flow and Mold Filling Modeling and Simulation to Enhance Resin Transfer Molding Processes

[+] Author and Article Information
C. J. Mosella, J. P. Montecinos, J. A. Ramos-Grez

Departamento de Ingeniería Mecánica y Metalúrgica, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vicuña Mackenna 4860, Santiago 6904411, Chile

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 130(3), 031006 (Jun 10, 2008) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2931141 History: Received July 11, 2005; Revised October 10, 2007; Published June 10, 2008

Among the multiple stages of the resin transfer molding (RTM) processes, flow and mold filling of injected resin correspond to the most complex and crucial stage. During the latter, air bubble agglomeration must be avoided and complete wetting of fibers must be achieved in order to ensure the maximum quality of the parts at the lowest possible manufacturing time. Focusing on these manufacturing issues, a mathematical model and a numerical resolution are presented to predict the resin flow throughout the fiber reinforcement inside the mold cavity. The methodology employs conventional finite element techniques for solving the flow problem through a porous medium governed by Darcy’s law and mass conservation. Simultaneously, a state of the art numerical scheme known as the discontinuous Galerkin method is implemented to determine the location and shape of the advancing flow fronts ruled by a hyperbolic transport equation. These two schemes are implemented to work with a two-dimensional domain, handling diverse geometries with multiple injection and ventilation ports. The results for key process parameters, such as filling time and position of the advancing flow fronts, show a good agreement with results from analytical solutions for particular cases and from empirical data. When several simulated results are taken into account in the design process of RTM cavities, the overall process could be enhanced.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Problem domain and nomenclature

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Figure 2

Node definition in FE and RKDG methods

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Figure 3

Sign convention and nomenclature for the RKDG method

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Figure 4

δ effect over the pseudoconcentration function

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Figure 5

Flow front numerical versus analytical position

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Figure 6

Mesh refinement study

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Figure 7

Pulley (0.24m diameter) manufactured by the RTM process

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Figure 10

2D pulley mesh with two injection and two ventilation gates

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Figure 9

Pressure isovalues (kPa) at the last injection stage

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Figure 11

Air bubble formation and pressure isovalues (kPa)

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Figure 12

Flow fronts and pressure isovalues (kPa) at different time instants

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