Vacuum Infusion Processing of Self-Healing Composites with Reinforcement Bound Microcapsules
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The objective of this work is to investigate a vacuum assisted liquid composite molding process which results in a uniform distribution of liquid filled microcapsules in glass fiber/epoxy composites. These microcapsules are designed to fracture when the composite structure is damaged in service, releasing a liquid healing agent and repairing the damaged region during cure. For this, the microcapsules have to stand the infusion process and may fracture yet when the epoxy matrix is being damaged. A binding agent which is soluble in the epoxy resin serves to anchor the microcapsules in place during resin infusion before being dissolved in the epoxy matrix, resulting in a composite with a high level of uniformly distributed microcapsules.