UV-cured adhesives for carbon fiber composite applications

Hsiao-Chun Lu, Purdue University


Carbon fiber composite materials are increasingly used in automobile, marine, and aerospace industries due to their unique properties, including high strength, high stiffness and low weight. However, due to their brittle characteristic, these structures are prone to physical damage, such as a bird strike or impact damage. Once the structure is damaged, it is important to have fast and reliable temporary repair until the permanent repair or replacement can take place. In this dissertation, UV-based adhesives were used to provide a bonding strength for temporary repair. Adhesively bonded patch repair is an efficient and effective method for temporary repair. In this study, precured patches (hard patches) and dry fabric patches with laminating resins (soft patches) were performed. UV-based epoxy adhesives were applied to both patch repair systems. For precured patch repair, the bonding strengths were investigated under different surface treatments for bonding area and different adhesives thicknesses. The shear stresses of different UV exposure times and curing times were tested. Besides, the large patch repair was investigated as well. For soft patch repair, the hand wet lay-up was applied due to high viscosity of UV resins. A modified single lap shear testing (ASTM D5868) was applied to determine the shear stress. The large patches used fiber glass instead of carbon fiber to prove the possibility of repair with UV epoxy resin by hand wet lay-up process. The hand lay-up procedure was applied and assisted by vacuum pressure to eliminate the air bubbles and consolidate the patches. To enhance the bonding strength and effective soft patch repair, vacuum assisted resin transferring molding (VaRTM) is the better option. However, only low viscosity resins can be operated by VaRTM. Hence, new UV-based adhesives were formulated. The new UV-based adhesives included photoinitiator (PI), epoxy and different solvents. Solvents were used to compound the photoinitiator into epoxy monomer. Acetone, tetrahydrofuran (THF) and chloroform were used as well as their anhydrous solvents. The UV exposure times and curing times of new UV-based resins were tested. FT-IR, DSC and DMA were used to investigate structure, glass transition temperatures(Tg) and properties of polymer. In summary, the UV-based adhesive was applied to adhesively bonded hard patch and soft patch repair. In addition, new UV-based resins were formulated for the VaRTM process. The in-field repair can be effective and efficient by using UV adhesives.




Youngblood, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Polymer chemistry|Materials science

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