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There are many composite fabrication processes available to fabricators. Each process has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to understand the options before selecting a process. This article will discuss a few types of the composite fabrication process:
One common composite fabrication process is filament winding. In this process, a fiberglass or carbon fiber tape is wound around a mandrel; the mandrel can be either solid or hollow. The fiberglass or carbon fiber tape is bonded to the mandrel with an epoxy resin. This forms a composite part with high strength and stiffness.
Another common process used by fabricators like Mentis Sciences is pultrusion. This process involves pulling fiberglass through a resin bath and then curing the resin by-passing high-tension rollers over the wetted fiberglass. One advantage of this process is that it produces very smooth and accurate parts with excellent surface finish and mechanical properties at all points in the structural cross-section.
In compression molding, a fiberglass or carbon preform is placed into a closed mold and heated to cause the resin to cure. The heat causes the material in the fibers to deform and flow into any voids present in the mold. Upon cooling, this process results in a composite part with exceptional surface finish, dimensional accuracy, and excellent mechanical properties throughout the entire cross-section of the part.
The other type of composite fabrication process is injection molding. This process is very similar to the process used to make plastic parts. Injection-molded parts are usually less expensive than other composites and have a wide variety of shapes and sizes that can be produced. However, the mechanical properties of injection molded parts are usually lower than those produced by the other processes described in this article.
There are many different types of composite fabrication processes that can be used to produce high-quality parts. The best process for a particular application will depend on the desired properties of the finished part.