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A two-phase flow model to simulate mold filling and saturation in Resin Transfer Molding

An Erratum to this article was published on 31 March 2015

Abstract

This paper addresses the numerical simulation of void formation and transport during mold filling in Resin Transfer Molding (RTM). The saturation equation, based on a two-phase flow model resin/air, is coupled with Darcy’s law and mass conservation to simulate the unsaturated filling flow that takes place in a RTM mold when resin is injected through the fiber bed. These equations lead to a system composed of an advection–diffusion equation for saturation including capillary effects and an elliptic equation for pressure taking into account the effect of air residual saturation. The model introduces the relative permeability as a function of resin saturation. When capillary effects are omitted, the hyperbolic nature of the saturation equation and its strong coupling with Darcy equation through relative permeability represent a challenging numerical issue. The combination of the constitutive physical laws relating permeability to saturation with the coupled system of the pressure and saturation equations allows predicting the saturation profiles. The model was validated by comparison with experimental data obtained for a fiberglass reinforcement injected in a RTM mold at constant flow rate. The saturation measured as a function of time during the resin impregnation of the fiber bed compared very well with numerical predictions.

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Acknowledgments

The authors acknowledge financial support of the Spanish Government (Projects DPI2010-20333 and DPI2013-44903-R-AR), of the National Science and Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and of the Canada Reseach Chair (CRC) program.

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Correspondence to L. Gascón.

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Gascón, L., García, J.A., LeBel, F. et al. A two-phase flow model to simulate mold filling and saturation in Resin Transfer Molding. Int J Mater Form 9, 229–239 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12289-015-1225-z

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Keywords

  • Resin Transfer Molding
  • Two-phase flow
  • Voids
  • Saturation
  • Relative permeability