Investigation of induced thermo-mechanical response and cure kinetics during processing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics.
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The manufacture of laminated composite materials using a thermosetting resin matrix is a complex process that can be understood with a knowledge of cure kinetics, heat transfer, and structural mechanics. During laminate manufacture, reinforcing fibers are impregnated with resin and subjected to catalytic conditions. Under these conditions, the resin transforms from liquid to solid as polymer chains form a crosslinked network. During this process, the phenomenological events of gelation and vitrification influence the ability to process the resin. Prediction of these events with kinetic modeling allows the optimization of the manufacturing process and insight into the final material properties. This thesis investigates the application of kinetic models to, specifically, the Pro-Set 117LV/229 epoxy system. Additionally, it is demonstrated that residual stresses develop in laminated composite as cure progresses. The residual stress state is affected by the processing history of the component and has an impact on component dimensionality and strength.