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Vacuum Bag-Only Co-Cured Scarf Repairs Using Optimized Prepreg and Resin

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Vacuum Bag-Only Co-Cured Scarf Repairs Using Optimized Prepreg and Resin


Co-cured scarf repairs employing vacuum bag-only (VBO) prepreg patches are ostensibly well-suited for in-field repairs, as they require minimal cure equipment. However, VBO prepregs are sensitive to sub-optimal manufacturing conditions, are typically unable to accommodate through-thickness air evacuation to limit porosity, and must be refrigerated to limit the accrual of out-time. As such, in-field repairs primarily rely on low-efficiency techniques such as wet layup and double-vacuum debulking (DVD). We investigated the viability of co-cured scarf repairs using an unconventional VBO prepreg and resin. The prepreg consisted of a 2×2 twill carbon fiber fabric and a discontinuous resin distribution that enabled rapid through-thickness air evacuation during cure. The resin consisted of a vinyl hybrid thermoset that offered rapid curing kinetics, competitive mechanical properties, and room temperature stability. Flat panels (380 × 380 mm) were fabricated, sealing off in-plane air evacuation to account for boundary conditions during co-cure of scarf repair patches. Microstructural quality and mechanical performance were assessed, and compared to those of a panel fabricated using a wet layup resin and DVD processing. Repair-relevant sub-cases were studied, including vertical cure and long out-time, where edge breathing was intentionally prevented. The results showed that the unconventional prepreg format and vinyl hybrid resin yielded higher quality (< 0.1% porosity) and comparable performance to the benchmark case, while considerably increasing efficiency and simplicity. In light of these results, the prepreg format and vinyl hybrid resin offer distinct advantages for rapid, low-cost, in-field repairs of composites.


Author: David Bender, Timotei Centea, and Steven Nutt


Conference: SAMPE Seattle 2017


SKU/Code: SE17--0574

Pages: 15

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