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CASE STUDY

ON
MANUFACTURING OF
COMPOSITE USING
OOA TECHNIQUE

Submitted By:
Raj Kamal
Ajay Dhiman

Manufacturing of Composite using OOA technique


During my project, I visited many times the lab where I made my project. During the
manufacturing of laminate, I was very curious because there was lot of question in my mind.
During the project I observed a lot of factors which effects the quality of the final product.
Some of the factors which I observed are controllable and some are uncontrollable. In this
short summary of project I had tried to discuss all those things which I had learnt in a small
span of time in lab.
We cannot apply much pressure in OOA process and absence of pressure is the main reason
for resin rich area and voids in out of autoclave (OOA) manufacturing process. But here I
will try to discuss some other few reason too, that are also responsible for the defects in
laminate.

Introduction
Composite materials are made by combination of fiber and matrix materials which result in
the creation of materials that have a synergy effect, which cannot be obtained having the
same elements in separate forms. There are many techniques of manufacturing product using
composites and out of all those techniques one of the cost effective technique is out of
autoclave (OOA) technique.
Main variables affecting the quality of final product in OOA technique:
In the following section the various variables which affect the quality of final product
in OOA technique are discussed along wither defects and possible solution:
1. Roller Pressure:
Rollers are used to apply the compaction pressure when the different layers of the
prepregs are laid upon one another. Now there may be three different cases due to
which the final part can become defective.
Highly compressed areas
Low compressed areas
Areas without any compaction
Now the various defects produced due to this uneven roller pressure are explained
bellow:

a) Resin rich area: These resin rich areas are defined as localized areas filled
with resin and there is lacking of reinforcing material that are fibers. These
areas are weak areas due to high stress concentration where under loading,
cracks will appear. The consolidation pressure should be applied uniformly to
prevent waviness and hence resin rich areas. Therefore roller pressure is an
important variable to control this defect. Figure 2 shows how resin rich areas
are produced due to waviness caused by improper compaction.

Resin rich area

Fibers

Fig. 2: Showing resin rich areas


b) Low strength: The volume fraction of the composite should be high. If the
volume fraction will not be high then there will be resin rich areas. The resin
rich areas have low fracture strength and hence the overall strength of the
composite decreases. To increase the volume fraction we should apply
sufficient pressure which further is applied by rollers.
c) Voids: If the compaction of the laminate is done properly then we can remove
the air entrapped between the different prepreg layers which is responsible for
the void formation in the laminate. Therefore roller pressure is also a important
variable for minimising this defect.
d) Fiber to fiber contact: If there is fiber to fiber contact in the final product then
the fibers will not be able to transfer the load between each other and this
defect is called as Domino effect. Now this defect can be controlled by
controlling the roller pressure. Figure 3 shows the fiber to fiber contact in a
laminate.

Fiber to fiber contact


Figure: 2 Showing fiber to fiber contact
e) Waviness at edges: There may be some areas which may remain uncompact
due to improper shape of rollers or method of rolling. These areas which

remain uncompact are mainly the edges of the laminate and hence they become
wavy.
Recommendations to control above defects:
As all of the above effects are caused mainly due to the hand roller which is
used for compaction of composite so therefore we should put our efforts to effectively
design the roller. There are some ways which can be incorporated to reduce the
uneven compaction. The various ways to control the compaction are discussed below:
Roller velocity: The velocity of roller should be appropriate. If the velocity of
roller is too fast or too slow then there may be areas of uneven compaction. So
focus should be given to find out the appropriate velocity of roller for
compaction.
Pattern of rolling: There should be a predefined pattern which should be
most effective to produce uniform compaction. Hence focus is also required in
this area to find most effective pattern.
Roller design: The roller should be of such type which will minimize the
uneven pressure applied by the person operating the roller. The proposed
design of roller is given below:
Travel direction
Effort handle

Roller
Figure3: Showing proposed design for roller
2. Way of laying prepregs:
If the way in which various layers of prepregs are laid on one another is not proper
then there may be some defects in the final laminate. The various defects produced
due to this are discussed as below:
a) Voids: Presence of voids are mainly caused by volatile resin components, air
not properly controlled during cure, entrapment of air during lay up of plies,
size and quality of the material used in a composite.
b) Wrinkles on surface: The wrinkles are found on the surface of the laminate
when the plies are not properly laid.

c) Fiber undulations: If the plies are not properly laid then there may be
undulation on the surface. So fibers should be laid properly.
Recommendation:
The lay-up of prepregs should be done in such a way so that there is least
air entrapment or least fiber undulation between prepregs layers. The
following figure shows the way in which prepregs should be laid down.

Compaction Roller

Prepreg

Travel Direction

Lay Up Tool
Figure 4: Showing the proper way of lay-up of prepregs

3. Controlled heat transfer:


For the curing of laminate we have to put them in oven so that proper curing of
laminate can be done. The various defects produced due to uncontrolled heat transfer
are as follows:
a) Non uniform curing of laminate: If curing of laminate is not uniform then
the strength of the laminate also varies according to the degree of cure. This is
because the lower surface of the laminate is in contact with the mold, therefore
degree of cure is different at the bottom of the laminate and the top layer
which is not in contact with the mold is cured to a different extent.
b) Burning of prepregs: If the temperature of the heat supply is very high then it
may also happen that prepregs get burned.
Recommendation:
The detailed study of the complete assembly should be done to calculate
the heat transfer to the laminate surfaces so that as far as possible uniform
curing can be done.
4. Degree of shrinkage of resin:
There is always some shrinkage of the resin when it gets changed from liquid to solid.
The defect produced due to this property of the resin is given below:

a) Change in dimensions: There occurs expansion and contraction of resin and


fiber due to increase and decrease in temperature of the cycle. Hence due to
this reasons it may happen that our final product is not of proper size.
Recommendation:
Proper allowances should be provided to compensate the shrinkage of
laminate due to change in temperature.
Proper methods (e.g. PVT method and Ultrasonic method) should be used
to determine the shrinkage of material easily.
5. Cutting of tape:
The cutting of tape is done from the prepreg roll according to the size and shape
required by the laminate. Now this cutting is also a very crucial aspect which need to
be considered. If the cutting is not proper then following defect can arise.
a) Non uniform cross section: When we cut the prepreg tape with help of knife
then we see that the cross-section of the prepreg tape is curved at the corners.
This results in the non-uniform thickness of the laminate.
Recommendation:
Some automatic method must be used for accurate cutting of the prepregs.

Main Defects and their Remedies:

1. Voids: Presence of voids are mainly caused by volatile resin components, air not
properly controlled during cure, entrapment of air during lay up of plies, size and
quality of the material used in a composite.
Remedies:
The lay-up of prepregs should be done in such a way so that there is least air
entrapment between prepregs layers. The following figure shows the way in

which prepregs should be laid down.


Debulking should be done after every two layers.

Compaction Roller

Prepreg

Travel Direction

Lay Up Tool
Fig.: Showing the proper way of lay-up of prepregs

Careful selection of prepreg material. The prepreg material used for composite

manufacturing should be porous so that the air entrapped can escape easily.
Proper consolidation pressure should be applied to avoid air entrapment

between the different prepreg layers.


There is a temperature at which the resin is most susceptible to void formation and
hence pressure at that point should be sufficient to avoid void formation. In order to
apply pressure we can apply some kind of static load during curing.
Vacuum can be applied without encouraging void growth, if such application
is coordinated with the temperature and pressure of the system.
2. Resin rich area: These resin rich areas are defined as localized areas filled with resin
and there are a lacking of reinforcing material in this case fibers. These areas are weak
areas due to high stress concentration where under loading, cracks will appear.
Remedies:

The consolidation pressure should be applied uniformly to prevent waviness


and hence resin rich areas. When the pressure is applied with the help of hand
rollers than there may be three possible cases:
There may be areas where pressure may be high.
There may be areas where pressure may be low.
There may be areas where there is no consolidation.

To avoid this the roller should be used in such a way that the weight of roller only
acts as consolidation pressure. To achieve this the roller should only be either
pushed or pulled without giving any vertical downward force by hands.

There should be adequate consolidation pressure.

3. Low strength: The volume fraction of the composite should be high. If the volume
fraction will not be high then there will be resin rich areas. The resin rich areas have
low fracture strength and hence the overall strength of the composite decreases.
Remedies:
Sufficient pressure should be applied to compress the laminate and hence to
increase the fiber to fiber contact.
4. Out of dimensions: The change in state of the resin from liquid to solid is
accompanied by some shrinkage. There is also expansion and contraction of resin and
fiber due to increase and decrease in temperature of the cycle. Hence due to above
two reasons it may happen that our final product is not of proper size.
Remedies:
Proper allowances should be provided to compensate the shrinkage of
laminate due to change in temperature.
Proper methods (e.g. PVT method and Ultrasonic method) should be used to
determine the shrinkage of material easily.
5. Residual stresses: Friction at the interface between the part and the mold and the
mismatch between thermal expansion or contraction of the mold and deformation of
the part can result in residual stresses in the part.
Remedies:
Proper releasing agent should be provided between the mold and the part to
reduce friction and hence the residual stresses.
6. Cutting of tape: When we cut the prepreg tape with help of knife then we see that the
cross-section of the prepreg tape is curved at the corners. This results in the nonuniform thickness of the laminate.
Remedies:
Some automatic method must be used for accurate cutting of the prepregs.