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Optimization of Spine Sensor Location in Resin Ttransfer Molding

[+] Author Affiliations
A. Rodriguez, B. Minaie

Wichita State University

O. Restrepo, K.-T. Hsiao

University of South Alabama

Paper No. IMECE2005-81798, pp. 687-695; 9 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Dynamic Systems and Control, Parts A and B
  • Orlando, Florida, USA, November 5 – 11, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4216-9 | eISBN: 0-7918-3769-6
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) is a manufacturing process to produce polymer composite parts. RTM is comprised of four stages: 1) cutting and placing of the fiber mats (preform) inside a mold, 2) resin injection, 3) curing of the part, and 4) demolding of the hardened part. Resin injection is the most critical stage in RTM and it can be affected by unpredictable parameters such as preform permeability variations. These variations can produce unrepeatable filling patterns where the Last Point to Fill (LPF) may not coincide with the exit vent location. Failure to completely wet the fibers inside the mold can cause dry spots which are major defects that usually require the part to be scrapped. In order to overcome the uncertainties in the filling stage, adaptive control can be used to monitor and regulate the flow front such that the LPF coincides with the vent location. Recently, the development of sensors has allowed continuous sensing of the flow front in a straight line. Such sensors can be placed between the injection gates and the vent. The location of these sensors can affect adaptive control and the resulting filling pattern and, therefore, the final quality of the part. The work presented in this paper uses a search algorithm to find the optimal location for the sensors. The results of this optimization study can be used to enhance future control algorithms and, therefore, can lead to a more successful RTM process.

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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