The purpose of this research is to empirically investigate flow front void formation rates and post-formation bubble mobility behavior for composites produced via resin transfer molding (RTM).For this study, in situ observation of bubble formation and migration was accomplished by photographing resin flow progression during infusion tests of carbon reinforcements. An analysis strategy for use in batch processing sequential image sets is presented. The use of MATLAB to process and analyze binary images of infusions for void content has garnered satisfactory results and has shown that analysis of progressive image sequences can greatly enrich the volume of in situ measurements for a given study without compromising the data quality.Semi-automated MATLAB software analysis employed the representative image area (RIA) method to evaluate v0. It was found that the shorter the RIA length, and the more it follows the true flow front shape, the more representative the measured v0 was of the void formation at the flow front.Experimental evidence of in situ bubble formation and mobility behavior is presented. Stitch architecture of NCF reinforcements is shown to influence bubble formation at the flow front. Bubble mobility mechanisms (such as escape and entrapment) are related to stitch orientation relative to the fluid flow direction. Different stitching orientations exhibited different effects on post-formation mobility.Void formation is presented as a function of flow front velocity. Despite differences in preform configurations (stitch orientation with respect to flow) and injection flowrates, bubbles seem to form in a similar fashion for the 3 infusions of carbon fiber NCF reinforcement analyzed in this study. It is observed that bubbles form at stitch lines, regardless of stitch orientation.Bubble migration is documented for infusion of NCF reinforcement with stitching at different orientations. Qualitative observations of bubble migration during infusions of a dense preform of STW, plain weave fabric are discussed. Recommendations are given for future studies involving image-based analysis of in situ bubble formation and migration.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





liquid composite molding, voids, bubble flow, fluorescence, in situ photography