Autonomous Materials Systems group || Beckman Institute || University of Illinois
Frontal polymerization allows for rapid manufacturing of aerospace-grade carbon fiber composite parts with significantly less energy and comparable mechanical properties to current industry techniques.
Manufacturing of a 4 inch by 8 inch composite panel can be achieved in under two minutes with frontal polymerization, while a conventional manufacturing would take hours to make a similar part. The infrared (IR) video below shows the temperature and curing of the carbon fiber composite when initiated from a single wire.
Manufacturing time can be cut in half by introducing another wire; reducing the time needed below one minute!
Frontal polymerization can be numerically simulated to predict the behaviour of the resin. The videos below illustrate a significant difference between the curing of pure resin systems and composite systems. The carbon fiber tow (right) increases the speed and changes the shape of the curing front compared to the pure resin (left).