First Year Assessment of Jaime Castro entitle “Dual Scale Flow during Vacuum Infusion of Composites Experiments” – 11:00 am at the Seminar Room

LCM techniques such as RTM and VARI still require to be enhanced in order to disseminate their use in the industry. In situ VARI experiments were carried out using synchrotron X-ray computed tomography (SXCT) to study the mechanisms of microfluid within a fibre tow. A bundle of two tows of E-glass fibres was infused with epoxy resin using an apparatus designed and built for this purpose. The high resolution of the SXCT images allows the detailed reconstruction of individual fibres within the tows while the contrast between the different phases (air, fluid and fibres) was enough to track the fluid front position and shape. The ability of this technique to provide detailed information of microfluid flow is clearly established. The fluid propagation at the microscopic level within the tow was related to the wetting condition between the fluid and the fibres, the reological properties of the fluid and the local microstructural details (fibre volume fraction, fibre orientation) of the fibre tow. Fluid properties were characterized, including surface tension, viscosity and contact angle between fibres and fluid using SXCT. These methods were validated with reference results obtained from literature. Furthermore, preliminary simulation results computed with OpenFoam software are presented showing the great potential of this tool.