Continuing Professional Development Course:
  Vacuum Bag Moulding

This course offers a detailed study of the range of composites processes which involve vacuum consolidation.  This includes wet lay up, prepreg and resin film infusion.  The emphasis is on increasing participants' knowledge of currently used materials, and enhancing practical skills.

The course has been run successfully for several aerospace contractors in recent years.

The following topics will be addressed in the practical sessions:

Effect on laminate thickness, void content and properties of different debulk schedules and process variables. Observation of laminate quality.  Thermal response of different tooling materials and designs.  Effect of porous tooling on laminate quality.  Effect of ramp rate on laminate cure.  Sandwich panel manufacture.  Core shaping; cocuring.  Autoclave programming and temperature measurement.

Indicative course content:

The alternating lecture-practical structure is intended to be reasonably flexible, and more time can be spent in the laboratory if required.

Day 1

  • Overview and objectives of composites materials and manufacture.
  • Basic vacuum bag techniques; selection and use of ancillary (disposable) materials; health and safety.
  • Resin systems and prepregs - manufacture, storage, lay-up and cure.  Resin content and 'tack' variation.
  • Sandwich construction.

Day 2

  • Properties of composites.  Effect of fibre type, content and orientation.  Calculation of laminate thickness.  Void formation and effect on properties.
  • Tooling.  Choice of materials.  Design and manufacture for handling, air and heat flow.  Tool inspection, maintenance/repair and calibration.  Mould release systems.
  • Quality considerations.  Methods of evaluation, inspection and testing.  Discussion of typical defects.

Day 3

  • Autoclave design, function and operation.  Principles of temperature control.  Monitoring the state of cure.
  • Resin Film Infusion (RFI).
  • Repair of advanced composite structures.  Nature and assessment of damage; repair objectives and strategy.


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Prepreg lay up


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Vaccum breach unit insertion

Photos courtesy Tygavac Advanced Materials