Research Project Summary Information
Feasibility of X-ray Curing of Fiber Composites in a Mold(ST9097-1)
High-current, high-voltage electron accelerators show promise for X-ray curing as a commercially viable process, however very little published research exists on this topic. Having ten times greater penetration than the highest voltage electron beams (EB), X-rays can penetrate through the walls of molds and be used to cure formed products within a mold. Curing in the mold will eliminate concerns over oxygen inhibition with some chemistries and difficulties in laying-up and degassing (debulking) fiber prepregs (pre-impregnated materials) as have been used in EB experiments.
This proof-of-concept project demonstrated:
1.The material properties of X-ray cured carbon-fiber composites based on matrices made from commercially available reactive oligomers and monomers
2.The potential overall industrial efficiency of using X-ray curing versus conventional thermo-chemical systems
3.The potential energy efficiency of X-ray curing versus thermo-chemical systems
The benefit to NYS is to demonstrate the feasibility of an innovative energy-efficient technology to manufacturers of fiber-reinforced composites. X-ray curing will enable composite manufacturers to: comply with Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) goals, use low-cost molds and molding processes, and make products for key markets, such as automotive, at competitive or enhanced processing rates.
This feasibility study has shown that:
•X-ray curing is a viable option in the manufacture of fiber reinforced composites.
•Low-dose curing matrix materials can be made from commercial monomers and oligomers (there may be little need for exotic material development).
•Through adroit formulation, end-use property balances can be attained to emphasize impact resistance and other desirable properties while maintaining the ability of a matrix system to wet fibers and thereby facilitate de-bulking or de-aeration.
•X-ray cured systems exhibit resistance to heat distortion at very elevated temperatures (>180°C) and mono-phase internal compatibility.
•X-ray curing can be done while products are restrained in relatively inexpensive molds.
•Using X-rays, product presentation under the X-ray target is not critical.
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