Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Source

Proceedings of the 2018 Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX)


The goal of the current study was to develop and demonstrate a simple and quick lab-scale VARTM process for the purpose of making flat panels for subsequent characterization, for example in new materials development efforts. This process was not intended to be optimized for final production, rather it served as the quickest way to make lab-scale composite panels using VARTM while maintaining all the salient features of typical VARTM processes used in larger scale manufacturing. There is a wide variety of ways to implement VARTM, as well as a diverse list of potential materials and supplies from which to choose. The process we arrived at was implemented on a 60 cm x 90 cm (2 ft. x 3 ft.) aluminum plate, which was mounted to a moveable cart and intended for ambient temperature processing (no heaters). Details of the vacuum system, resin distribution strategy, and bagging procedures will be described herein. The system was tested by making carbon/epoxy composite laminates of approximately 30 cm x 45 cm (1 ft. x 1.5 ft.). These panels were tested for thickness variation and fiber volume fraction. Optical microscopy was also used to evaluate the microstructure, and limited tensile testing was performed. The results indicated that the panels were of reasonable quality with no significant porosity.

Document Version



Paper was presented in the session "Selection and Durability of Polymers Used In Space" Sept. 24, 2018.

The document available for download is the author's accepted manuscript, provided with the permission of the author and the publisher. Permission documentation is on file.

Place of Publication

Dallas, TX