Manufacturing process modeling for composite materials
Guest, Daniel Aaron
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The increased use and interest in wind energy over the last few years has necessitated an increase in the manufacturing of wind turbine blades. This increase in manufacturing has in many ways out stepped the current understanding of not only the materials used but also the manufacturing methods used to construct composite laminates. The goal of this study is to develop a list of process parameters which influence the quality of composite laminates manufactured using vacuum assisted resin transfer molding and to evaluate how they influence laminate quality. Known to be primary factors for the manufacturing process are resin flow rate and vacuum pressure. An incorrect balance of these parameters will often cause porosity or voids in laminates that ultimately degrade the strength of the composite. Fiber waviness has also been seen as a major contributor to failures in wind turbine blades and is often the effect of mishandling during the lay-up process. Based on laboratory tests conducted, a relationship between these parameters and laminate quality has been established which will be a valuable tool in developing best practices and standard procedures for the manufacture of wind turbine blade composites.