Development of Spray on Bag for manufacturing of large composites parts: diffusivity analysis

Dempah, Maxime Joseph
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University of Delaware
Bagging materials are utilized in many composites manufacturing processes. The selection is mainly driven by cost, temperature requirements, chemical compatibility and tear properties of the bag. The air barrier properties of the bag are assumed to be adequate or in many cases are not considered at all. However, the gas barrier property of a bag is the most critical parameter, as it can negatively affect the quality of the final laminate. The barrier property is a function of the bag material, uniformity, thickness and temperature. Improved barrier properties are needed for large parts, high pressure consolidated components and structures where air stays entrapped on the part surface. The air resistance property of the film is defined as permeability and is investigated in this thesis. A model was developed to evaluate the gas transport through the film and an experimental cell was implemented to characterize various commercial films. Understanding and characterizing the transport phenomena through the film allows optimization of the bagging material for various manufacturing processes. Spray-on-Bag is a scalable alternative bagging method compared to standard films. The approach allows in-situ fabrication of the bag on large and complex geometry structures where optimization of the bag properties can be varied on a local level. An experimental setup was developed and implemented using a six axis robot and an automated spraying system. Experiments were performed on a flat surface and specimens were characterized and compared to conventional films. Air barrier properties were within range of standard film approaches showing the potential to fabricate net shape bagging structures in an automated process