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Production Processes

Composite materials are manufactured by two main assembly approaches.

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Open Molding

Molding and curing of composite material are exposed to free air. Cheap and practical.

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Closed Molding

Molding and curing of composite material are inside a closed cavity without atmospheric exposure. Excellent quality.

Rules of Composite Production

To maximize the stiffness, strength, and overall “quality” of the composite material/part, the manufacturer should practice the following guideline:

Engineering

Select the right combination of reinforcements, matrix, and additives

Fiber%

Maintain fiber volume fraction at around 50~65% (optimum fiber volume fraction depends on design)

Uniformity

Achieve uniform fiber volume fraction throughout part (e.g., avoid resin-rich or resin-starved regions)

Void

Eliminate void content (e.g., eliminate air bubbles)

Adhesion

Ensure good adhesive bonding between fiber/matrix, between plies, and from part-to-part

Impurity

Eliminate all contaminants

Supply

Build a functional supply chain by working with reliable vendors

Employee

Most composites are still fabricated manually. So guide, train, and protect the employees well