Numerical Simulation of Resin Transfer Molding Using BEM and Level Set Method
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Resin Transfer Molding is widely used to produce fiber-reinforced materials. In the process, the resin enters a close mold containing the dry fiber preform. For mold designer, numerical simulation is a useful tool to optimize the mold filling, in particular to identify the best positions of the ports and the vents. An issue in mold filling simulation is the front tracking, because the shape of the resin front changes during the flow. In particular, topological changes can appear resulting from internal obstacles dividing the front or multi-injection. A previous approach  using the Boundary Element Method (BEM) in a moving mesh framework shows the capability of the method to compute accuratlely the front propagation at low CPU time. The present paper describes a method developed to handle complex shapes, using BEM together with a Level Set approach. Numerical results in two dimensions are presented, assuming a Newtonian non-reactive fluid, and an homogeneous and not-deformable reinforcement. The resin flow in the fibrous reinforcement is modeled using Darcy’s law and mass conservation. The resulting equation reduces to Laplace’s equation considering an isotropic equivalent mold. Laplaces equation is solved at each time step using a constant Boundary Element Method to compute the normal velocity at the flow front. It is extended to the fixed grid and next used to feed a Level Set solver computing the signed distance to the front. Our model includes a boundary element mesher and a Narrow Band method to speed up CPU time. The numerical model is compared with an analytical solution, a FEM/VOF-based simulation and experimental measurements for more realistic cases involving multiple injection ports and internal obstacles.
KeywordsResin Transfer Molding (RTM) Level Set Boundary Element Method (BEM)
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