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METHOD FOR DATA ACQUISITION FOR THERMAL PROFILING OF POLYMERIC RESIN TRANSFER MOLDS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000247330D
Publication Date: 2016-Aug-24
Document File: 8 page(s) / 362K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The technology disclosed herein provides an apparatus and method for the placement of thermocouples within or near a fiber preform and the resin channels within a mold. The thermocouples are configured to sense actual resin temperatures during a resin transfer molding (RTM) process and are positioned to remain in place when vacuum is applied to the mold cavity and resin is introduced into the cavity. The resulting temperature data is correlated with permanent temperature sensors that can be used during the molding of subsequent parts to assure that a well cured polymeric matrix is produced. This method utilizes a pressure interlock through which thermocouple wires are introduced into the resin feed into the mold. The pressure interlock is configured such that a pressure tight seal is maintained around the thermocouple wires.

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METHOD FOR DATA ACQUISITION FOR THERMAL PROFILING OF POLYMERIC RESIN TRANSFER MOLDS

ABSTRACT


[0001] The technology disclosed herein provides an apparatus and method for the placement of thermocouples within or near a fiber preform and the resin channels within a mold. The thermocouples are configured to sense actual resin temperatures during a resin transfer molding (RTM) process and are positioned to remain in place when vacuum is applied to the mold cavity and resin is introduced into the cavity. The resulting temperature data is correlated with permanent temperature sensors that can be used during the molding of subsequent parts to assure that a well cured polymeric matrix is produced. This method utilizes a pressure interlock through which thermocouple wires are introduced into the resin feed into the mold. The pressure interlock is configured such that a pressure tight seal is maintained around the thermocouple wires.

BACKGROUND


[0002] The process of transferring resin into a closed mold and saturating a fibrous preform is known in the industry as Resin Transfer Molding or RTM. With RTM, polymeric aircraft engine hardware can be fabricated using a reinforcement that includes fibers such as carbon fibers, glass fibers, or the like. The fibers can be formed as fibrous cloth that has been shaped into structures known as preforms. A preform is placed in a mold that defines a cavity that matches or complements the shape of the preform. A liquid polymeric resin system that includes a polymeric resin component and a catalyst is transferred into the mold cavity such that the resin system saturates the preform.


[0003] The polymeric resin component is configured to be crosslinked to cure into a solid part. The crosslinking is initiated when the catalyst is activated. In conventional resin systems for RTM processes, the catalyst is a solid particulate that is suspended in the resin system when the resin system is at a temperature that is below the melting point of the catalyst. The resin system begins crosslinking when it, and thus the catalyst, is above the catalyst's melting point. If the resin system is introduced into the mold cavity below the melting point of the catalyst, the

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catalyst particles can become trapped in the preform as if the preform were a filter. If particles are trapped in the preform they can be poorly distributed throughout the mold. Poor distribution of the catalyst within the mold can cause a gradient of the chemical reaction between the resin and the catalyst. Such a gradient can cause the finished part to have inferior physical properties. A consistent temperature of the resin system during each molding process is critical. Therefore knowledge of the temperature of the resin system during each molding process is critical. An exemplar resin system is PR520 which is manufactured by Cytec Aerospace Materials. PR 520 must reach 320 °F before it reaches the preform to ensure that the catalyst parti...