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Technical Briefs

An Experimental Study on the Process Monitoring of Resin Transfer Molded Composite Structures Using Fiber Optic Sensors

[+] Author and Article Information
Casey J. Keulen

Mechanical Engineering Department,  University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canadackeulen@uvic.ca

Talha Boz

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeytalhaboz@sabanciuniv.edu

Mehmet Yildiz

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeymeyildiz@sabanciuniv.edu

Afzal Suleman

Mechanical Engineering Department,  University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, V8W 2Y2, Canadasuleman@uvic.ca

Nazli G. Ozdemir

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeygulsine@sabanciuniv.edu

Ege F. Sengun

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeyegesengun@sabanciuniv.edu

Cem Ozturk

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeycemozturk@sabanciuniv.edu

Gokhan Bektas

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeybektas@sabanciuniv.edu

Yusuf Z. Menceloglu

Advanced Composites and Polymer Processing Laboratory, Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences,  Sabanci University, Orhanli-Tuzla, 34956 Istanbul, Turkeyyusufm@sabanciuniv.edu

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. 134(4), 044502 (Jun 27, 2012) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4006770 History: Received March 29, 2011; Revised March 20, 2012; Published June 26, 2012; Online June 27, 2012

Research conducted on in situ process monitoring of resin transfer molded composites with fiber optic sensors is presented. A laboratory scale resin transfer molding (RTM) apparatus was designed and built with the capability of embedding fiber optic sensors and visually observing the resin filling process. Both fiber Bragg grating (FBG) and etched fiber (EF) sensors are embedded into glass fiber reinforcements in the RTM mold and used to monitor the resin flow front and cure. The cure cycle of the resin system utilized in this work is also studied using a Fresnel reflection refractometer (FRR) sensor. The results of this study show that both the FBG and EF sensors can be used efficiently for flow and cure monitoring of the RTM process. The experimental results of the EF and FRR sensors agree with those of the FBG sensors for cure monitoring.

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Copyright © 2012 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Schematic of RTM process (left) and the lab apparatus including optical equipment (right)

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Figure 2

Schematic of an FBG sensor

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Figure 3

Bragg wavelength versus time for cure and flow monitoring with FBGs: (a) Experiment-1, (b) experiment-2, (c) experiment-3 for cure monitoring, and (d) experiment-3 for flow monitoring with three FBG sensors

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Figure 4

(a) Complete history of the RTM process; (b) and (c) close-up view for a segment of a light intensity drop versus processing time curve

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Figure 5

(a) and (b) Reflected light power and temperature versus time; (c) temperature and Bragg wavelength variations as a function of time

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Figure 6

The degree of cure as a function of time

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