Research Papers

Pressurized Infusion: A New and Improved Liquid Composite Molding Process

[+] Author and Article Information
M. Akif Yalcinkaya

School of Aerospace and Mechanical
The University of Oklahoma,
Felgar Hall, Room. 212, 865 Asp Avenue,
Norman, OK 73019
e-mail: akifyalcinkaya@ou.edu

Gorkem E. Guloglu

School of Aerospace and
Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Oklahoma,
Felgar Hall, Room. 212, 865 Asp Avenue,
Norman, OK 73019
e-mail: gguloglu@ou.edu

Maya Pishvar

School of Aerospace and Mechanical
The University of Oklahoma,
Felgar Hall, Room. 212, 865 Asp Avenue,
Norman, OK 73019
e-mail: pishvar@ou.edu

Mehrad Amirkhosravi

School of Aerospace and Mechanical
The University of Oklahoma,
Felgar Hall, Room. 212, 865 Asp Avenue,
Norman, OK 73019
e-mail: mehrad@ou.edu

E. Murat Sozer

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Koc University,
Rumelifeneri Yolu, Sariyer,
Istanbul 34450, Turkey
e-mail: msozer@ku.edu.tr

M. Cengiz Altan

School of Aerospace and
Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Oklahoma,
Felgar Hall, Room. 212, 865 Asp Avenue,
Norman, OK 73019
e-mail: altan@ou.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received June 24, 2018; final manuscript received September 17, 2018; published online October 26, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Martine Dubé.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 141(1), 011007 (Oct 26, 2018) (12 pages) Paper No: MANU-18-1481; doi: 10.1115/1.4041569 History: Received June 24, 2018; Revised September 17, 2018

Vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) has several inherent shortcomings such as long mold filling times, low fiber volume fraction, and high void content in fabricated laminates. These problems in VARTM mainly arise from the limited compaction of the laminate and low resin pressure. Pressurized infusion (PI) molding introduced in this paper overcomes these disadvantages by (i) applying high compaction pressure on the laminate by an external pressure chamber placed on the mold and (ii) increasing the resin pressure by pressurizing the inlet resin reservoir. The effectiveness of PI molding was verified by fabricating composite laminates at various levels of chamber and inlet pressures and investigating the effect of these parameters on the fill time, fiber volume fraction, and void content. Furthermore, spatial distribution of voids was characterized by employing a unique method, which uses a flatbed scanner to capture the high-resolution planar scan of the fabricated laminates. The results revealed that PI molding reduced fill time by 45%, increased fiber volume fraction by 16%, reduced void content by 98%, improved short beam shear (SBS) strength by 14%, and yielded uniform spatial distribution of voids compared to those obtained by conventional VARTM.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.


Hsiao, K.-T. , and Heider, D. , 2012, “ Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM) in Polymer Matrix Composites,” Manufacturing Techniques for Polymer Matrix Composites (PMCs), Woodhead Publishing Limited, Sawston, UK.
Advani, S. G. , and Sozer, E. M. , 2010, Process Modeling in Composites Manufacturing, Taylor & Francis, London.
Sas, H. S. , Simacek, P. , and Advani, S. G. , 2015, “ A Methodology to Reduce Variability During Vacuum Infusion With Optimized Design of Distribution Media,” Composites, Part A, 78, pp. 223–233. [CrossRef]
Kuentzer, N. , Simacek, P. , Advani, S. G. , and Walsh, S. , 2007, “ Correlation of Void Distribution to VARTM Manufacturing Techniques,” Composites, Part A, 38(3), pp. 802–813. [CrossRef]
Sayre, J. R. , and Loos, A. C. , 2003, “ Resin Infusion of Triaxially Braided Preforms With Through-the-Thickness Reinforcement,” Polym. Compos., 24(2), pp. 229–236. [CrossRef]
Seemann, W. , 1990, “ Plastic Transfer Molding Techniques for the Production of Fiber Reinforced Plastic Structures,” U.S. Patent No. 4902215. https://patents.google.com/patent/US4902215
Kedari, V. R. , Farah, B. I. , and Hsiao, K.-T. , 2011, “ Effects of Vacuum Pressure, Inlet Pressure, and Mold Temperature on the Void Content, Volume Fraction of Polyester/e-Glass Fiber Composites Manufactured With VARTM Process,” J. Compos. Mater., 45(26), pp. 2727–2742. [CrossRef]
Allende, M. , Mohan, R. V. , and Walsh, S. M. , 2004, “ Experimental and Numerical Analysis of Flow Behavior in the FASTRAC Liquid Composite Manufacturing Process,” Polym. Compos., 25(4), pp. 384–396. [CrossRef]
Alms, J. B. , Advani, S. G. , and Glancey, J. L. , 2011, “ Liquid Composite Molding Control Methodologies Using Vacuum Induced Preform Relaxation,” Composites, Part A, 42(1), pp. 57–65. [CrossRef]
Alms, J. , and Advani, S. G. , 2007, “ Simulation and Experimental Validation of Flow Flooding Chamber Method of Resin Delivery in Liquid Composite Molding,” Composites, Part A, 38(10), pp. 2131–2141. [CrossRef]
Ricciardi, M. R. , Antonucci, V. , Durante, M. , Giordano, M. , Nele, L. , Starace, G. , and Langella, A. , 2013, “ A New Cost-Saving Vacuum Infusion Process for Fiber-Reinforced Composites: Pulsed Infusion,” J. Compos. Mater., 48(11), pp. 1365–1373. [CrossRef]
Kaynak, C. , and Kas, Y. O. , 2006, “ Effects of Injection Pressure in Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) of Woven Carbon Fibre/Epoxy Composites,” Polym. Polym. Compos., 14(1), pp. 55–64. [CrossRef]
Bodaghi, M. , Cristóvão, C. , Gomes, R. , and Correia, N. C. , 2016, “ Experimental Characterization of Voids in High Fibre Volume Fraction Composites Processed by High Injection Pressure RTM,” Composites, Part A, 82, pp. 88–99. [CrossRef]
Yenilmez, B. , Senan, M. , and Sozer, E. M. , 2009, “ Variation of Part Thickness and Compaction Pressure in Vacuum Infusion Process,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 69(11–12), pp. 1710–1719. [CrossRef]
Correia, N. C. , Robitaille, F. , Long, A. C. , Rudd, C. D. , Simacek, P. , and Advani, S. G. , 2005, “ Analysis of the Vacuum Infusion Moulding Process—Part I: Analytical Formulation,” Composites, Part A, 36(12), pp. 1645–1656. [CrossRef]
Yalcinkaya, M. A. , Caglar, B. , and Sozer, E. M. , 2017, “ Effect of Permeability Characterization at Different Boundary and Flow Conditions on Vacuum Infusion Process Modeling,” J. Reinf. Plast. Compos., 36(7), pp. 491–504. [CrossRef]
Govignon, Q. , Bickerton, S. , and Kelly, P. A. , 2010, “ Simulation of the Reinforcement Compaction and Resin Flow During the Complete Resin Infusion Process,” Composites, Part A, 41(1), pp. 45–57. [CrossRef]
Tackitt, K. D. , and Walsh, S. M. , 2005, “ Experimental Study of Thickness Gradient Formation in the VARTM Process,” Mater. Manuf. Process., 20(4), pp. 607–627. [CrossRef]
Caglar, B. , Yenilmez, B. , and Sozer, E. M. , 2015, “ Modeling of Post-Filling Stage in Vacuum Infusion Using Compaction Characterization,” J. Compos. Mater., 49(16), pp. 1947–1960. [CrossRef]
Simacek, P. , Eksik, O. , Heider, D. , Gillespie, J. W. , and Advani, S. , 2012, “ Experimental Validation of Post-Filling Flow in Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding Processes,” Composites, Part A, 43(3), pp. 370–380. [CrossRef]
Robinson, M. J. , and Kosmatka, J. B. , 2013, “ Analysis of the Post-Filling Phase of the Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding Process,” J. Compos. Mater., 48(13), pp. 1547–1559. [CrossRef]
Chen, D. , Arakawa, K. , and Uchino, M. , 2016, “ Effects of the Addition of a Cover Mold on Resin Flow and the Quality of the Finished Product in Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molding,” Polym. Compos., 37(5), pp. 1435–1442. [CrossRef]
Pishvar, M. , Amirkhosravi, M. , and Altan, M. C. , 2017, “ Magnet Assisted Composite Manufacturing: A Novel Fabrication Technique for High-Quality Composite Laminates,” Polym. Compos. (epub).
Amirkhosravi, M. , Pishvar, M. , and Altan, M. C. , 2017, “ Improving Laminate Quality in Wet Lay-Up/Vacuum Bag Processes by Magnet Assisted Composite Manufacturing (MACM),” Composites, Part A, 98, pp. 227–237. [CrossRef]
Pishvar, M. , Amirkhosravi, M. , and Altan, M. C. , 2018, “ Magnet Assisted Composite Manufacturing: A Flexible New Technique for Achieving High Consolidation Pressure in Vacuum Bag/Lay-Up Processes,” J. Vis. Exp., 135, p. e57254.
Amirkhosravi, M. , Pishvar, M. , and Cengiz Altan, M. , 2018, “ Fabricating High-Quality VARTM Laminates by Magnetic Consolidation: Experiments and Process Model,” Composites, Part A, 114, pp. 398–406. [CrossRef]
Garofalo, J. , Walczyk, D. , and Kuppers, J. , 2017, “ Rapid Consolidation and Curing of Vacuum-Infused Thermoset Composite Parts,” ASME J. Manuf. Sci. Eng., 139(2), p. 021010. [CrossRef]
Causse, P. , Ruiz, E. , and Trochu, F. , 2011, “ Experimental Study of Flexible Injection to Manufacture Parts of Strong Curvature,” Polym. Compos., 32(6), pp. 882–895. [CrossRef]
Yalcinkaya, M. A. , Sozer, E. M. , and Altan, M. C. , 2017, “ Fabrication of High Quality Composite Laminates by Pressurized and Heated-VARTM,” Composites, Part A, 102, pp. 336–346. [CrossRef]
Yalcinkaya, M. A. , Sozer, E. , and Altan, M. C. , 2018, “ Effect of External Pressure to Enhance Laminate Quality and Reduce Process-Induced Voids in Heated-VARTM,” Composites, Part A (under review).
Yalcinkaya, M. , Sozer, E. , and Altan, M. , 2018, “ Dynamic Pressure Control in VARTM: Rapid Fabrication of Laminates With High Fiber Volume Fraction and Improved Dimensional Uniformity,” Polym. Compos. (in press).
Chang, C.-Y. , 2012, “ Experimental Analysis of Mold Filling in Vacuum Assisted Compression Resin Transfer Molding,” J. Reinf. Plast. Compos., 31(23), pp. 1630–1637. [CrossRef]
Zhu, H. , Wu, B. , Li, D. , Zhang, D. , and Chen, Y. , 2011, “ Influence of Voids on the Tensile Performance of Carbon/Epoxy Fabric Laminates,” J. Mater. Sci. Technol., 27(1), pp. 69–73. [CrossRef]
Maragoni, L. , Carraro, P. A. , and Quaresimin, M. , 2016, “ Effect of Voids on the Crack Formation in a [45/−45/0]s Laminate Under Cyclic Axial Tension,” Composites, Part A, 91, pp. 493–500. [CrossRef]
Dong, C. , 2016, “ Effects of Process-Induced Voids on the Properties of Fibre Reinforced Composites,” J. Mater. Sci. Technol., 32(7), pp. 597–604. [CrossRef]
Lambert, J. , Chambers, A. R. , Sinclair, I. , and Spearing, S. M. , 2012, “ 3D Damage Characterisation and the Role of Voids in the Fatigue of Wind Turbine Blade Materials,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 72(2), pp. 337–343. [CrossRef]
Costa, M. L. , Rezende, M. C. , and de Almeida, S. F. M. , 2006, “ Effect of Void Content on the Moisture Absorption in Polymeric Composites,” Polym. Plast. Technol. Eng., 45(6), pp. 691–698. [CrossRef]
Hamidi, Y. K. , Aktas, L. , and Altan, M. C. , 2004, “ Formation of Microscopic Voids in Resin Transfer Molded Composites,” ASME J. Eng. Mater. Technol., 126(4), pp. 420–426. [CrossRef]
Park, C. H. , Lebel, A. , Saouab, A. , Bréard, J. , and Lee, W. I. , 2011, “ Modeling and Simulation of Voids and Saturation in Liquid Composite Molding Processes,” Composites, Part A, 42(6), pp. 658–668. [CrossRef]
Chen, D. , Arakawa, K. , and Xu, C. , 2015, “ Reduction of Void Content of Vacuum-Assisted Resin Transfer Molded Composites by Infusion Pressure Control,” Polym. Compos., 36(9), pp. 1629–1637. [CrossRef]
Michaud, V. , 2016, “ A Review of Non-Saturated Resin Flow in Liquid Composite Moulding Processes,” Transp. Porous Media, 115(3), pp. 581–601.
Leclerc, J. S. , and Ruiz, E. , 2008, “ Porosity Reduction Using Optimized Flow Velocity in Resin Transfer Molding,” Composites, Part A, 39(12), pp. 1859–1868. [CrossRef]
Olivero, K. A. , Barraza, H. J. , O'Rear, E. A. , and Altan, M. C. , 2002, “ Effect of Injection Rate and Post-Fill Cure Pressure on Properties of Resin Transfer Molded Disks,” J. Compos. Mater., 36(16), pp. 2011–2028. [CrossRef]
Hamidi, Y. K. , and Altan, M. C. , 2017, “ Process Induced Defects in Liquid Molding Processes of Composites,” Int. Polym. Process., 32(5), pp. 527–544. [CrossRef]
Hamidi, Y. K. , Aktas, L. , and Altan, M. C. , 2005, “ Effect of Packing on Void Morphology in Resin Transfer Molded E-Glass/Epoxy Composites,” Polym. Compos., 26(5), pp. 614–627. [CrossRef]
Stadtfeld, H. , Erninger, M. , Bickerton, S. , and Advani, S. G. , 2002, “ An Experimental Method to Continuously Measure Permeability of Fiber Preforms as a Function of Fiber Volume Fraction,” J. Reinf. Plast. Compos., 21(11), pp. 879–899. [CrossRef]
Salvatori, D. , Caglar, B. , Teixidó, H. , and Michaud, V. , 2018, “ Permeability and Capillary Effects in a Channel-Wise Non-Crimp Fabric,” Composites, Part A, 108, pp. 41–52. [CrossRef]
Yalcinkaya, M. A. , Sarioglu, A. , and Sozer, E. M. , 2015, “ A Novel Mold Design for One-Continuous Permeability Measurement of Fiber Preforms,” J. Reinf. Plast. Compos., 34(11), pp. 915–930. [CrossRef]
Arbter, R. , Beraud, J. M. , Binetruy, C. , Bizet, L. , Bréard, J. , Comas-Cardona, S. , Demaria, C. , Endruweit, A. , Ermanni, P. , Gommer, F. , Hasanovic, S. , Henrat, P. , Klunker, F. , Laine, B. , Lavanchy, S. , Lomov, S. V. , Long, A. , Michaud, V. , Morren, G. , Ruiz, E. , Sol, H. , Trochu, F. , Verleye, B. , Wietgrefe, M. , Wu, W. , and Ziegmann, G. , 2011, “ Experimental Determination of the Permeability of Textiles: A Benchmark Exercise,” Composites, Part A, 42(9), pp. 1157–1168. [CrossRef]
Vernet, N. , Ruiz, E. , Advani, S. , Alms, J. B. , Aubert, M. , Barburski, M. , Barari, B. , Beraud, J. M. , Berg, D. C. , Correia, N. , Danzi, M. , Delavière, T. , Dickert, M. , Di Fratta, C. , Endruweit, A. , Ermanni, P. , Francucci, G. , Garcia, J. A. , George, A. , Hahn, C. , Klunker, F. , Lomov, S. V. , Long, A. , Louis, B. , Maldonado, J. , Meier, R. , Michaud, V. , Perrin, H. , Pillai, K. , Rodriguez, E. , Trochu, F. , Verheyden, S. , Wietgrefe, M. , Xiong, W. , Zaremba, S. , and Ziegmann, G. , 2014, “ Experimental Determination of the Permeability of Engineering Textiles: Benchmark II,” Composites, Part A, 61, pp. 172–184. [CrossRef]
Centea, T. , and Hubert, P. , 2013, “ Out-of-Autoclave Prepreg Consolidation Under Deficient Pressure Conditions,” J. Compos. Mater., 48(16), pp. 2033–2045. [CrossRef]
Almeida, M. D. , Cerqueira, M. , and Leali, M. , 2001, “ The Influence of Porosity on the Interlaminar Shear Strength of Carbon/Epoxy and Carbon/Bismaleimide Fabric Laminates,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 61(14), pp. 2101–2108. [CrossRef]
Wisnom, M. R. , Reynolds, T. , and Gwilliam, N. , 1996, “ Reduction in Interlaminar Shear Strength by Discrete and Distributed Voids,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 56(1), pp. 93–101. [CrossRef]
Hernandez, S. , Sket, F. , Molina-Aldareguia, J. M. , Gonzalez, C. , and LLorca, J. , 2011, “ Effect of Curing Cycle on Void Distribution and Interlaminar Shear Strength in Polymer-Matrix Composites,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 71(10), pp. 1331–1341. [CrossRef]
Hamidi, Y. K. , Aktas, L. , and Altan, M. C. , 2005, “ Three-Dimensional Features of Void Morphology in Resin Transfer Molded Composites,” Compos. Sci. Technol., 65(7–8), pp. 1306–1320. [CrossRef]
Paciornik, S. , and D'Almeida, J. R. M. , 2008, “ Measurement of Void Content and Distribution in Composite Materials Through Digital Microscopy,” J. Compos. Mater., 43(2), pp. 101–112. [CrossRef]
Kardos, J. , Duduković, M. , and Dave, R. , 1986, “ Void Growth and Resin Transport During Processing of Thermosetting—Matrix Composites,” Adv. Polym. Sci., 80, pp. 101–123. [CrossRef]
Costa, M. L. , de Almeida, S. F. M. , and Rezende, M. C. , 2005, “ Critical Void Content for Polymer Composite Laminates,” AIAA J., 43(6), pp. 1336–1341. [CrossRef]
Bowles, K. J. , and Frimpong, S. , 1992, “ Void Effects on the Interlaminar Shear Strength of Unidirectional Graphite-Fiber-Reinforced Composites,” J. Compos. Mater., 26(10), pp. 1487–1509. [CrossRef]
Abraham, D. , Matthews, S. , and McIlhagger, R. , 1998, “ A Comparison of Physical Properties of Glass Fibre Epoxy Composites Produced by Wet Lay-Up With Autoclave Consolidation and Resin Transfer Moulding,” Composites, Part A, 29(7), pp. 795–801. [CrossRef]
Carraro, P. A. , Maragoni, L. , and Quaresimin, M. , 2015, “ Influence of Manufacturing Induced Defects on Damage Initiation and Propagation in Carbon/Epoxy NCF Laminates,” Adv. Manuf. Polym. Compos. Sci., 1(1), pp. 44–53.


Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Pressurized infusion molding experimental setup

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

(a) Calculation of permeability by using the experimental data and (b) an example mold filling experiment (FS-0-0) and best-fit curve using the calculated permeability, where μ = 0.18 Pa·s, ϕ = 0.57, Pin = 100 kPa, and C = 0.0082 m/s1/2

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 3

Permeability characterization of the preform at various Vf caused by the expansion of the bag at high Pin. The curve fit constants are A = 5.37 × 10−9 m2 and B = 0.115, where K is in m2 and Vf is in %. R2 of the curve fit is 0.93.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Effect of chamber and inlet pressures on the mold filling time. The first and the second numbers of the FS designations correspond to Pchamber and Pin in kPa, respectively. The actual fill times are reported on top of each bar.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

(a) Thickness, (b) fiber volume fraction, and (c) void content of laminates fabricated by applying various Pchamber and Pin. The error bars represent the 95% confidence interval of the experimental data.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

Effect of process parameters on the void morphology: (a) numerous large voids due to low compaction and resin pressures in the conventional VARTM (i.e., FS-0-0), (b) compressed, slender voids extended under high Pchamber in FS-100-0, (c) a void with smooth edges due to high Pin in FS-200-180, and (d) void free cross section formed by applying a packing pressure during the post-filling in FS-200-180-P

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Micrographs taken from various laminates: (a) arrows point to wide resin-rich intertow regions in FS-0-0, (b) highly compacted microstructure due to high Pchamber in FS-200-180, and (c) microstructure indicates slightly reduced fiber volume fraction due to expansion of the laminate in through-the-thickness direction at high inlet pressure, Pin, for FS-200-180-P

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

Effect of voids on damage mechanisms. Micrographs were captured from fractured laminates fabricated by VARTM (FS-0-0). Arrows point to (a) cracks emanating from the edges of voids, (b) voids favoring the crack propagation through the thickness, and (c) delamination caused by large elongated voids. (d) An almost 45-deg crack propagation across a void free cross section is seen in a void free laminate fabricated by FS-200-180-P.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Effect of pressurized infusion molding on the SBS strength of laminates

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Effect of Pin on the number of voids and their size. Sections captured from laminates fabricated by (a) FS-200-0 and (b) FS-200-180.

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

Void occurrence along the resin flow direction of laminates fabricated by various combinations of Pchamber and Pin. The numbers pointing the lines correspond to the void occurrence averaged along the laminate length. Void occurrence equals to the average gray value of the pixels along the width of the laminate normalized by the highest gray value of 255 (See color figure online).

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

((a) and (b)) Planar optical scans of the laminates showing voids as darker regions; ((c) and (d)) images after processing the scans seen in (a) and (b); and ((e) and (f)) contour plots of gray values of pixels seen in the processed images. Red color in the color scale indicates less transparency, and thus, more voids through the thickness, which decreases as the color approaches to white in the color bar (See color figure online).



Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In