Date of Award

9-2019

Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering

Department

Aerospace Engineering

College

College of Engineering

Advisor

Faysal Kolkailah

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering

Abstract

Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) processes for manufacturing aerospace-grade parts needs to be better understood to further the development and success of industries that are manufacturing reusable launch vehicles, military and commercial aircraft, and spacecraft. Overcoming the performance limitations associated with OoA, also known as low-pressure prepreg curing, methods (void count, energy absorption, etc.) will help decrease the costs associated with aerospace composite manufacturing and the negative environmental effects correlated with high-pressure composite curing methods. Experimental, theoretical, and numerical approaches are used to explore both low and high-pressure curing cycles and how the two different processes affect final cured parts. Quasi-static uniaxial compression tests on 33mm diameter tubular specimens concluded that the high-pressure curing methods (up to 90 psi) increased the likelihood of a final part with increased stiffness compared to the lower atmospheric-pressure methods (14.7 psi) on an order of 22%. After further extension and deformation past the linear elastic region, tests concluded that although the autoclaved specimens may have been higher-quality parts, the low-pressure-cured specimens performed more efficiently with respect to energy absorption. Considering the specific energy absorption (SEA) and crush force efficiency (CFE) are both on average around 6% higher for the low-pressure specimens, it is concluded that they can perform similarly to the high-pressure specimens and possibly even more efficiently depending on the loading conditions and desired purpose of the structure.

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