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17-12-2019 | Original Research | Issue 6/2020 Open Access

International Journal of Material Forming 6/2020

A shell model for resin flow and preform deformation in thin-walled composite manufacturing processes

International Journal of Material Forming > Issue 6/2020
Da Wu, Ragnar Larsson
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The paper proposes a novel approach to model the in-plane resin flow in deformable thin-walled fiber preforms for liquid composite molding processes. By ignoring the through-thickness flow in large scale thin-walled components, the 3-D resin flow is simplified to an in-plane flow inside the preform by a specialized divergence theorem. Shell kinematics are used to describe the fiber preform deformation, and the compressible flow is modeled in the context of the free surface flow in porous media. For simplicity and efficiency, the normal stretch, which is driven by the internal fluid and applied external pressure, represents the fiber preform expansion and compression. As compared with full 3-D models, the proposed shell model significantly reduces the problem size, while it still represents the primary physical phenomena during the process. The effects of neglecting the through-thickness flow are illustrated in a numerical example that compares the flow for a set of preforms with different thickness. The model is demonstrated from the numerical example of the mold filling in a doubly curved thin-walled fiber preform. Due to the applied vacuum and the consequent resin flow motion, the relevant deformation of the preform is observed.

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