Model-Based Control of Cure Distribution in Polymer Composite Parts Made by Laminated Object Fabrication (LOF) 409

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Klosterman, Donald
Chartoff, Richard
Flach, Lawrance
Bryant, Eric

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A mathematical heat transfer model was used to investigate process control strategies for making thermoset polymer composite materials by Laminated Object Fabrication (LOF). The temperature of the laminator was manipulated in order to control the uniformity and overall level of cure through the thickness of a 20-layer part. When the laminator temperature was held constant throughout the LOF build process, as is normally the case in practice, the model predicted that the resulting panel would have a steep cure gradient from top to bottom. This was considered to be undesirable. The model was then used in conjunction with an optimization algorithm to determine a temperature program for the laminator which would result in panels with a more desirable spatial cure profile (i.e. constant). Computer model simulations demonstrated that it should be feasible to control both the level and distribution of cure in thermoset composite panels layed-up with LOF by simply manipulating the laminator temperature with simple and realistic heating schedules.



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