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Polymer Composites

Poly E-410

Dr Atif Javaid

Polymer & Process Engineering Department


University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore

Email:
atifjavaid@uet.edu.pk

Lecture 5
14th February 2015

Outline
Processing of Polymer Composites
Prepregs
Short fibre composites
BMC Moulding
SMC Moulding
Cold Press Moulding

Processing of Polymer Composites

Intrinsically linked to architecture of the composite

Producing PMC components involves a number of stages.


Constituent fibres & polymers produced.
Sized (coated) fibres available as unidirectional tows (3K, 6K, 12K, fibres) or
rovings, woven fabrics or chopped strand mat.
Fibres can be combined with liquid resin; contact moulding (hand lay-up) &
left to cure.
Alternatively, intermediate produced;
Prepreg (pre-impregnated) (fibres pre-impregnated with partially cured
resin)
Sheet moulding compound, SMC (chopped glass fibres in polymer)
Intermediate stored for later use.

Prepreg (usually with epoxy resins)


Reinforcement is pre-impregnated with resin
A-stage:
soluble and fusible
B-stage:
swollen but not dissolved by a variety of solvents
C-stage:
rigid, hard, insoluble, infusible

safer than liquid resins


mixing done by suppliers > better quality
expensive relative to dry reinforcements

Pre-preg
finite shelf life: not use-by date
if out-of-date should not be used for applications which may
result in injury, loss or damage.

time the roll of the material is out of cold storage


will reduce its useful life (shelf life)
normal to allow the material to warm to ambient
temperature before use as condensation may form
on cold material

Pre-preg systems
cold-cure (not normally prepreg)
cure at ambient temperature
low temperature systems:
cure at ~60C, shelf life typically 3 months
medium temperature systems:
cure at ~120C, shelf life typically 6 months,
high temperature systems:
cure at ~180C, shelf life typically one year.

Pre-preg
key considerations include:
Drape
formability to complex curvatures
Tack
stickiness
De-bulk
The process of removing air from a prepreg. Debulking
increases the density of the prepreg. every few layers form a
stack and is subjected to vacuum in temporary bag or a
vacuum table.

Short Fibre Composites - BMC


Moulding

Economical process for high volume


production of small-medium components.
Bulk Molding Compound (BMC) is a pre
mixed fiber reinforced material that cures
under heat and pressure
Preform of moulding compound placed in
the heated mould cavity
Pressed into the finished shape.
Heat from mould initiates cure
Surface finish produced is excellent.
Mould - aluminium, cast iron or steel.
Electrical housings, car body panels, gas
& electricity meter boxes, car road
wheels, etc.
Styrene emission reduced since it is a
closed mould process.

Short Fibre Composites - SMC Moulding

High volume production of small-tomedium sized components.


Sheet moulding compound (SMC) is an
intermediate material in which resin &
reinforcement are already premixed
Sheet cut to a shape
Mould closed then heat applied to
form & cure the part.
Process uses an accurate matched
metal mould placed in a heated press.
Automotive applications - car bumpers
& car and truck body panels.

Short Fibre Composites - Cold Press Moulding

Intermediate process between contact


moulding & hot press moulding.
Reinforcement cut & placed in the mould.
Cold curing resin system poured in
Press closed causing resin to impregnate
the reinforcement.
Exothermic heat generated during gelation
together with pressure provoke cure.
Once the moulding has cured, it is released
from the mould.
Mould can be made of GRP or cheap metal.
Therefore inexpensive.
Automotive, industrial & electrical applications.
Tooling cost range covers small, simple to
large, complex moulds.