Third M.I.T. Conference on Computational Fluid and Solid Mechanics June 14–17, 2005  

Modeling resin infusion of composite sandwich structures by the VARTM process

X. Songa,*, A.C. Loosb, B.W. Grimsleyc, R.J. Canoc
aMaterials Technology Center, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA bDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, 48840, USA cNASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA 23681, USA

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A computer model based on the finite element/control volume (FE/CV) method was developed to study the resin flow during the vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) process of a new type of composite sandwich structure containing through-the-thickness stitches. The effects of the stitch density are investigated by studying the resin infusion of three structures with different stitch row spacing of 6.25 mm, 12.7 mm, and 25.4 mm. It is found that increasing the stitch row spacing shortens the total infiltration time, but makes the flow pattern more nonuniform. Extreme nonuniformity of the flow front shape could result in dry spots in the composite and should be avoided. The computer model is validated by experiments.

Keywords:  Vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM); Resin flow; Porous medium; Composite manufacturing; Finite element/control volume (FE/CV) method

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