Cure Monitoring of Thermosetting Polymers by an Ultrasonic Technique
In the fabrication of components with thermosetting polymers, an essential step is the proper optimization of the cure cycle. In the early phases of the cure the polymer must have the appropriate flow properties to assure the proper wetting, spreading, and forming. It must then harden without excessive build up of residual stresses and flaws or the loss of adhesion at any interfaces that are present. To complicate the situation further, many applications such as composites, adhesives, paints, and protective coatings involve thin films whose cure behavior is significantly different than that for bulk samples. To help address this problem, an ultrasonic shear wave propagation technique has been developed. It is a laboratory device that measures the dynamic shear properties of a thin film in a way which is both nondestructive and nonperturbing to any chemical reactions that may be occurring. The applicability of this test method was demonstrated with cure studies on two model systems: one based on tung oil the other based on an epoxy resin.
KeywordsAttenuation Mold Epoxy Rubber Shrinkage
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