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Book Review
Resin Transfer Molding
edited by Scott Beckwith and William Benjamin

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Modern composites have been around since the 1940s, but the manufacture of most composite products is still very labor intensive. The high labor content limits production rates, keeps costs high and presents quality control problems. The industry is currently developing methods to simplify and automate composite manufacturing.

Resin transfer molding, or RTM, is one of these processes. It belongs to the family of liquid molding technologies, of which there are perhaps two dozen variations. All are based on the same principle: a dry fiber preform is placed in a mold, resin is injected under some combination of pressure and vacuum, and the part is then cured. The processes lend themselves to varying degrees of automation, and rapid cure cycles are typical.

"Resin Transfer Molding: SAMPE Monograph No. 3" brings together 19 papers on RTM and related processes. These papers, originally published in the SAMPE Journal and various SAMPE proceedings, represent the state-of-the-art in RTM. The collection is not a handbook on RTM processes - in fact, it contains very little overview and background information. Rather, it shows some of the latest advances in the industry.

The broad topic areas include process automation and cure monitoring, preform and braid technologies, and new materials. Most of the articles are specific to conventional RTM, but vacuum assisted resin transfer molding (VARTM) and The Seemann Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process (SCRIMP) are also covered.

The case studies are the most interesting - and perhaps most useful - articles in the collection. In general, these describe how an RTM process was used to manufacture a specific product. Although proprietary modifications to the process were often developed to overcome challenges, the papers still show what is possible with RTM. Even if the specific processes can't be used by other companies, the general approach to evaluation and development will help others looking to apply RTM to a product.

The only items lacking in this monograph are a detailed index (there is an index, but it is a bit sparse), and introductions to the papers by the original authors. It is common for authors to update papers before publication in a monograph. For the papers more than a year or so old, a brief paragraph on advances since original publication would have been in order.

My only real complaint with the book is in the presentation. The eight point font is difficult to read, and the quality of many of the pictures is more like a copy. A few of the papers could have also used some copy editing, though that may have not been possible if they were taken from the original camera ready prints. However, these are really minor points, and they don't detract significantly from this monograph.

Details: "Resin Transfer Molding: SAMPE Monograph No. 3", edited by Scott Beckwith and William Benjamin, published by SAMPE, 1999, ISBN 0-938994-83-2.
1. A Decade of Technology Advances; 2. Engineered Textile Preforms; 3. Fast-Paced Process Evolution; 4. RTM Equipment and Process Automation; 5. RTM Process Monitoring and Control; 6. New Braid Design Spreadsheet; 7. Pushing the Limits of VARTM; 8. Development of RTM for Landing Gear Doors; 9. Resin Flow Front Monitoring; 10. Production of Hollow Parts with Inflatable Bladders; 11. Evaluation of Tackifier Agents; 12. Low-Crimp Preforms; 13. SCRIMP VARTM for Compressed Natural Gas Storage; 14. Net RTM Preforming Process; 15. Braiding; 16. RTM of Phenylethynyl Imides; 17. Co-Injection RTM of Vinyl Ester and Phenolic Composites; 18. P4 Glass Fiber Preforming Technology; 19. Textile Preforms for Complex Structural Composites; Index

Publisher's Page

 Related Reviews    Related Resources
• Complete Book List
• Liquid Moulding Technologies
• Manufacturing of Polymer Composites
• Rheology of Filled Polymer Systems
• SAMPE Home Page
• Braids and Preforms
• Resins
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