High Performance Composite
Design and Manufacturing
Canada Research Chair - Tier 1

Development of a bi-component epoxy resin injection system with high pressure technologies.

Professor : François Trochu
Project coordinator : Robin Dubé, M.Sc.A. student
Participants : Paul Trudeau, research associate
Mouhcine Rifay, research associate

Abstract

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A new project on injection systems is being investigated at CCHP (Chair on Composites of High Performance) for manufacturing high-performance composites for the high volume production industry. One of our goals is to develop, optimize and control the manufacturing process with the ultimate objective of reducing the fabrication time of composite structural parts, thus cutting production costs and hence, enabling a more widespread use of composite materials for high-volume applications.

The injection system will play an important role in achieving rapid molding. In order to achieve the fastest and reliable possible cycle times it will be essential to minimize unnecessary processing steps. The injection strategy followed by the mix head arrangement can either drive the process quickly or cost valuable time and possibly introduce unwanted process scrap. In traditional low pressure RTM processes auto-sprue valves are being used. These valves aid manufacturers in automating the injection process; additionally they help to eliminate throw-away tubing for feed lines and vents. Unfortunately these devices, typically pneumatic, are not robust and do not flush clean when using epoxies. With a rapidly curing epoxy resin this will most likely be an issue.

This phenomenon was well understood in the polyurethane manufacturing industry when companies used low pressure equipment. Over the years the industry moved from low pressure pneumatic systems to high pressure hydraulically actuated systems. The reliability of the equipment improved, as well as the quality of final products.