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Technical Briefs

Properties of Composite Cylinders Fabricated by Bladder Assisted Composite Manufacturing

[+] Author and Article Information
J. P. Anderson

 School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019jande@ou.edu

M. C. Altan

 School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019altan@ou.edu

J. Eng. Mater. Technol 134(4), 044501 (Aug 09, 2012) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4007017 History: Received June 08, 2011; Revised May 29, 2012; Published August 09, 2012; Online August 09, 2012

An innovative manufacturing method, bladder assisted composite manufacturing (BACM), to fabricate geometrically complex, hollow parts made of polymeric composite materials is presented. Unlike the conventional bladder or diaphragm assisted curing processes, BACM uses an internally heated bladder to provide the consolidation pressure at the required cure temperature. The feasibility of this manufacturing method is demonstrated by fabricating laminated composite cylinders using multiple cure pressures and number of plies. The elastic moduli, failure strength, fiber volume fraction, and void contents of the cylinders were found to be comparable to the values obtained from flat laminates produced by hot plate molding of the same material. Compared to conventional bladder manufacturing methods, the BACM process reduced the energy required to cure the cylinders by almost 50% due to internal heating and insulated mold.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

BACM assembly illustrating the placement of the heating element, RTV bladder, and the composite prepreg within the cylindrical aluminum shell mold

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Figure 2

Effect of processing pressure on fiber volume fraction. Note that the increase in marker size is used to illustrate increase in pressure applied during processing.

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Figure 3

Density of specimen as the fiber volume % is increased. The average void content is shown to be below 5% for all specimens. Note that the increase in marker size is used to illustrate increase in pressure applied during processing.

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Figure 4

Void % as processing pressure is increased normalized by number of plies present

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Figure 5

Representative void morphologies in composite cylinders fabricated by BACM method observed at 100 × magnification. Bladder pressure: (a) 345 kPa and (b) 621 kPa.

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Figure 6

Effect of processing technique and fiber content on measured elastic modulus. The dashed line shown is a trend line fit to all data points except Tomblin

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Figure 7

Void effects on the flexural strength of composite specimens. The dashed markers indicate specimen with void fractions above 2.0% threshold. None of the hot pressed specimen exceeded the threshold value of 2.0%.

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