Abstract

The purpose of this study is to investigate RF or Radio Frequency energy as a viable alternative to traditional heating methods for the purpose of curing resins used in resin infusion molding, a molding system for polymeric composites. Traditional heating/curing methods include technologies such as room temperature, oven, microwave, infrared, and ultraviolet. Although RF curing provides far more advantages than disadvantages, its implementation into a manufacturing process can be challenging. Specifically, three critical elements must be present in order for RF to function in a manner that is profitable to the manufacturer. Those elements are: (1) the proper generator (voltage and frequency), (2) the correct electrode configuration, and (3) the appropriate material sensitizer (amount and type). There is also the consideration of initial capital investment; which is by no means insignificant. However, if all 3 elements are present, the benefits can be immediate and numerous. Potential advantages include the following: improved part quality through penetrating and uniform heating; competitive, if not superior, material physical properties; and drastically reduced curing times. Other potential advantages include floor space savings, high energy efficiency, and increased operational flexibility. For the purpose of this thesis, experimentation will be conducted to first confirm and then, if successful, quantitatively capture the reduction in curing time. Physical properties will also be measured using tensile testing to determine whether or not RF curing can facilitate minimal loses in the material's physical properties.

Degree

MS

College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology

Rights

http://lib.byu.edu/about/copyright/

Date Submitted

2010-03-16

Document Type

Thesis

Handle

http://hdl.lib.byu.edu/1877/etd3493

Keywords

David Riddle, Riddle Technologies, RF, radio frequency curing, dielectric heating, electromagnetic heating, RF generator

Language

English

Technology Emphasis

Manufacturing Systems (MS)