As the aerospace industry continues to incorporate composites into its aircraft, there will be a need for alternative solutions to the current autoclaving process. Liquid composite molding (LCM) has proven to be a promising alternative, producing parts at faster rates and reduced costs while retaining aerospace grade quality. The most important factor of LCM is controlling the resin flow throughout the fiber reinforcement during infusion, as incomplete filling of fibers is a major quality issue as it results in dry spots or voids. Void formation occurs at the resin flow front due to competition between viscous forces and capillary pressure. The purpose of this work is to characterize capillary pressure in vacuum infusion, and develop a model that can be incorporated into flow simulation. In all tests performed capillary pressure was always higher for the carbon fiber versus fiberglass samples. This is due to the increased fiber packing associated with the carbon fabric. As the fabric samples were compressed to achieve specific fiber volumes an increase in capillary pressure was observed due to the decrease in porosity. Measured values for capillary pressure in the carbon fabric were ~2 kPa, thus the relative effects of Pcap may become significant in flow modeling under certain slow flow conditions in composite processing.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





capillary pressure, liquid composite molding, vacuum infusion, carbon fiber, resin infusion

Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)