SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 54

Feature Article

Figure 3. Overlay of actual cure
profiles for series of experiments
for non-interlayer toughened
system.

to a minimum to control actual part temperatures.
Overshoot was maintained within 10°C to avoid
excessive heat generation. As trials and experiments
progressed, process control was maintained more
consistently.
Cycle Time
Table 2 summarizes the total cycle time including
PVT between QS, VBO, and autoclave. For the QS
process the data shows a significant reduction
(+50%) in total cycle time, at less than 1.5 hr, which
includes a PVT less than 30 min compared to the
standard autoclave cure at a total cycle time of 4 hr.
VBO had the longest total cycle time requiring PVT,
more than 3 hr, on top of a 6 hr cure for a total cycle
time of 9 hr. Cured ply thickness was found to be
consistent to an autoclave cured laminate, and the
QS process was able to produce significantly faster
ramp rates up to about 30°C/min.
Void Content
After cure, all spars and panels showed minimal to
no resin bleed out due to optimal bagging scheme
without obvious defects on any surface area. A
quick check of pre-cure panel weight vs. cure panel
weight showed consistently <1.5 grams of weight
loss. Found laminate Tg was about 170°C, and
degree of cure was about 90%, similar to autoclave
processing.

Figure 4 shows a representative ultrasonic
scan image with corresponding cross sectional
micrographs taken at various central locations of
the CAI panel. The CAI panel is representative for all
laminates due to it is the thickest laminate fabricated
with a 32 ply quasi-isotropic configuration and a
dimension of about 13 cm x 38 cm. The ultrasonic
scan detected no anomalies. Cross sections
analysis found the average void content to be less
than 1%, which was reduced from about 2% before
optimization trials. Similarly low void content was
also observed throughout various locations of the
c-channel spars, indicating good heat transfer and
consolidation for this material on the spar tool.
Mechanical Equivalency
Figure 5 shows the mechanical results and
performance envelope between composite
laminates produced by Quickstep vs. VBO and
autoclave. All mechanical data was normalized to
autoclave cure mechanical properties. To prove
equivalency the following standard cure profiles
were used:
* Autoclave cure: 135°C x 2 hr, 2°C/min. ramp rate,
0.59 MPa compaction pressure
* VBO: 88°C x 1.5 hr, 132°C x 2 hr, 2°C/min. ramp
rate, 0.10 MPa compaction pressure
* Quickstep: 100°C x 0.4 hr, 150°C x 0.25 hr, 20-30°C/
min. ramp rate, ~0.14 MPa compaction pressure

Table 2. Total cycle time comparison.

54

SAMPE Journal, Volume 52, No. 4, July/August 2016



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016

Contents
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover1
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Cover2
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - Contents
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 2
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 3
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 4
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 5
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 6
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 7
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 8
SAMPE Journal - July/August 2016 - 9
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