Portable online system for resin curing monitoring under industrial conditions
A Czech research centre specialised in electrical and material engineering has developed and patented a portable online system for resin curing monitoring of composite and plastic materials under industrial conditions. The monitoring system with high sensitivity of monitoring of resin curing is suitable for the analysis of hard post-cure resins and composites. The university offers commercial agreement with technical assistance to plastics or composites manufacturers.
An uncured thermosetting resin matrix significantly influences many different composite properties. Therefore, the detection of the uncured thermosetting resin matrix is a necessity of quality control. This matrix can be detected by use of various methods e.g. temperature-modulated differential scanning calorimetry (MDSC), infrared spectroscopy and numerous mechanical methods including dynamic mechanical analysis. These methods are typically used together with pre-production trials on samples cured under various thermal and pressure conditions to determine the optimum cure cycle settings. However, these commonly used methods using robust devices are costly, labor intensive and time-consuming.
The Czech research centre has developed and patented unique portable online measuring system for resin curing monitoring based on impedance spectroscopy method with self-adapting frequency of the measurement. The measuring system is composed of the main measuring unit, in-house-developed dielectric sensors and platinum resistance temperature sensors. The system is capable to change automatically the measurement frequency (in real time) with respect to the actual molecular structure of the thermosetting resin during curing. The gathered impedance data provide on-line information about the curing process and display the actual state of the resin curing process. Therefore, the curing process is controlled and the operators have the information needed to determine when the resin system reaches the point of minimum viscosity, gelation, vitrification and full cure. The special design of the sensors enables to monitor the pure resin of composites (with glass or even with conductive carbon fibers).
Innovations & Advantages
Compared to commonly used devices for resin curing monitoring, the developed measuring system has following advantages and innovation:
- Significantly higher sensitivity of monitoring of resin curing thanks to self-adapting frequency of the system.
- Smaller dimensions (150 x 60 x40 mm) – the system is portable.
- The system is suitable for the analysis of hard post-cure resins and composites.
The research centre offers the portable on-line system for resin curing monitoring to plastics and composites manufacturers under commercial agreement with technical assistance. The cooperation with potential partner will include prototype device delivery and installation of the custom-made measurement system (sensors designed according to customer needs, additional verification measurement via structural analysis, CT tomography, mechanical testing, consultancy).
Current and Potential Domains of Application
The Czech research centre will deliver prototype device and install the custom-made measurement system (sensors designed according to customer needs, additional verification measurement via structural analysis, CT tomography, mechanical testing, consultancy).