Saturday, September 10, 2016

Peel Ply and Bonding Surface Preparation

How a peel ply releases from the composite substrate to be bonded controls the surface quality and thus bond performance. Fracture between (blue arrow) the matrix resin of the impregnated “wet peel ply” and that of the composite substrate produces the best results. 
SOURCE: “Evaluation of Peel-ply Materials on Composite Bond Quality”, Univ. of Washington and The Boeing Co.

There is a very informative post about peel ply and bonding on the Composites World Blog.  A lot of good information about the subtleties of surface preparation.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Curved Panels for Pod and Cockpit

I have been bad about posting.  I started working on curved foam panels back before the holidays.

The pod and cockpit are assembled out of curved foam sandwich panels.  Most all parts that are above and outbound of the deck are divinycell cores with two layers of carbon on each side.  The external side gets an additional e-glass layer for durability.

Paul designed these appendages so that all of the sides use the same curve.  This greatly simplifies the building.  All seven or eight panels can be layed up on the same mold.

The mold was build out of three CNCed pieces of MDF that define the curve.  These were joined to a base plate and some lightweight supports were added.

The tool face is two sheets of 1/4 inch melamine glued down to the structure.  I added screws along the edges to strengthen things a bit.  There is a seam between two sheets of melamine that needed to be fairly smooth and airtight.  After pondering how to seal this, I settled on about five layers of overlapping packing tape.   The whole surface is waxed and has some mold release as the outer coat.

Panels are vacuum bagged to the surface.  The layup is either a two or three step process.  The best inside finish is obtained when the inner skin is cured separately from the core.  The core can be laid over the the inner skin in one step, but thickened epoxy used to fill the foam surface can be forced through the carbon clouding the finish.

In either case, excess cloth needs to be trimmed from the inner surface using the core as a guide for a router before adding the outer surface.

Here, the inner skin is laid over some peel ply.

The core is being bagged to the inner skin.  This panel is the leeward side of the pod.

I'll show more pictures in future posts.