Published By: SME
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This chapter examines the following concepts: process overview, prepreg lay-up (manual and automated), vacuum bagging, curing (with and without autoclaves), roll wrapping, and tooling (molds). The manufacturing methods developed for making advanced composites in an open mold involve differing materials, manufacturing procedures, and equipment. The materials most often used for advanced composite parts are prepregs. The procedures using prepregs largely eliminate the problems of wet lay-up and spray-up. The overall goals of the open-molding system for advanced composites are to: control fiber orientation and location, control the ply thickness, control the fiber-resin ratio, minimize the void content, and reduce internal stresses. The roll-wrapping method, also called tube rolling, combines elements of filament winding and open molding. The molds used in an autoclave are usually made of metal or composite and must, of course, withstand the pressure forces of the autoclave as well as the curing temperature. The process of using prepreg materials in an open mold is important for making advanced composite parts.