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Polymer Mechanics Laboratory

Research > Composite manufacturing processes

Filament winding fiber impregnation study

Wet filament winding, in which the resin is applied to dry fiber during the winding, is still the most inexpensive method to fabricate composite structures with cylindrical geometry. This fabrication method is currently used to manufacture many composite products such as: rocket motor and boosters, drive shafts, natural gas tanks, infrastructure column retrofits, and flywheels. In may of these applications, such as rocket motor and boosters, high quality, as measured by low voids high fiber volume and consistent ply thickness, is critical. In the wet winding fabrication method the quality of the final composite product depend to great degree on full impregnation of the fiber during the material application. This study investigates the effect of impregnation parameters on the quality of the band and final composite product. More specifically, the effect of winding tension, winding speed, resin temperature, resin content, and fiber sizing level on band quality are investigated. Main and interaction effects of these variables are investigated using a 25-1 Central Composite Design of Experiment. Band quality is characterized by fiber volume fraction, void volume fraction (within and between bands), void size (within and between band), void distribution, and fiber distribution.

Fig. 1: Cylinder constructed by wrapping continuous fibers around a mandrel