Journal of Applied Polymer Science, Vol.101, No.2, 1095-1102, 2006
Development of rubber pressure molding technique using butyl rubber to fabricate fiber reinforced plastic components based on glass fiber and epoxy resin
A rubber pressure molding (RPM) technique is developed to prepare fiber reinforced plastic components (FRP) using glass fiber and epoxy resin. The technique is based on the matching die set, where the die is made of hard metal like steel and the punch from flexible rubber like materials. The use of flexible rubber punch helps to intensify and uniformly redistribute pressure (both operating pressure and developed hydrostatic pressure due to the flexible rubber punch) on the surface of the product. A split steel die and rubber punch were designed and fabricated to prepare the FRP components. The same split die was also used to cast the rubber punch. Butyl rubber was used to prepare a rubber punch in this investigation. Burn test, coin test, scan-ning electron microscopy and mechanical tests like interlaminar fracture toughness, interlaminar shear test, tension test, etc were carried out to know the fiber content, void content, presence of delarnination, bonding between fiber and resin, microstructure, and mechanical properties of the composite materials. These properties were also compared with FRP components made by the conventional technique to evaluate its performance in the structural applications. (c) 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.