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Properties of Composite Cylinders Fabricated by Bladder Assisted Composite Manufacturing (BACM)

[+] Author Affiliations
Jacob P. Anderson, M. Cengiz Altan

University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Paper No. IMECE2011-65285, pp. 233-240; 8 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 3: Design and Manufacturing
  • Denver, Colorado, USA, November 11–17, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5489-1
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


An innovative manufacturing method, BACM (Bladder Assisted Composite Manufacturing), to fabricate geometrically complex, hollow parts made of polymeric composite materials is presented. BACM uses an internally heated bladder to provide the consolidation pressure at the required cure temperature, and thus produces high quality components. The feasibility of this manufacturing method is demonstrated by fabricating laminated composite cylinders using multiple cure pressures and wall thicknesses. The mechanical properties, energy consumed during the curing, and void content of the composite cylinders, are investigated in detail. The curing of composite cylinders was carried out by circulating heated air inside the bladder. Using the described heating method a number of 2-, 4-, and 6-ply composite cylinders made of E-glass/epoxy prepreg (Newport 321/7781) were prepared as test samples. Cylinders were cured at 121°C (250°F) for 2 hours using bladder pressures of 207 kPa (30 psi), 345 kPa (50 psi), 483 kPa (70 psi), and 621 kPa (90 psi). The mechanical behavior of the cylinders were characterized by compressing sample rings and loading ring segments in three-point bending. The fiber volume fraction and the void content of the cylinders were determined from resin burn-off experiments and density measurements. The cylinders produced using the BACM process were found to exhibit excellent surface quality. The elastic moduli, failure strength, and void contents of the cylinders were comparable to the values obtained from flat laminates produced by hot plate molding. Compared to conventional bladder manufacturing methods, the BACM process reduced the energy required to cure the cylinder by more than 50%.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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