Guide to Vacuum Bagging

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Guide to Vacuum Bagging ( guide-vacuum-bagging )

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Guide to Vacuum Bagging Vacuum bagging techniques have been developed for fabricating a variety of components but mainly for complex shapes, double contours and relatively large components. The technique is employed either to consolidate a wet layup or a prepreg layup during cure. The process is principally suited for moulding low cost components too large and/or complex to be pressurised by other means. The technique utilises a flexible sealed bag under which a vacuum is drawn, hence applying an even pressure up to 1 atmosphere (14psi) to the laminate in the mould. The assembly can then be heated in an oven, as in the case when using prepregs, to promote flow and cure of the resin. The process requires low cost equipment and tooling and is capable of producing composite components of good quality. The diagram below illustrates a cross section of a simple vacuum bag lay up. The constituent parts and their function are described below. Vacuum Bagging Film These materials are used to form the vacuum bag. The film is sealed to the edge of the mould with vacuum bag sealant tape. Vacuum bags must be completely airtight to ensure no leaks occur at full vacuum during the final cure. The most commonly used material is nylon film due to its excellent physical properties. As well as being extremely tough, it has good flexibility and high elongation. Special additives allow it to be used at high temperatures and make it the most cost effective material available. Nylon films are supplied either in tubular or sheet form. Elastomeric films provide much higher elongation than nylon allowing the bag to more easily conform to complex profiles. Sealant Tape Also none as “tacky tape”, it is used to provide an airtight seal between the tool / master model and bagging film. The tape must have sufficient tack to adhere well to the mould surface but not so much tack that the bag cannot be stripped away from the tape for re-positioning during lay up. The tape must also strip cleanly from the mould surface after the cure cycle has been completed. www.lavender-ce.com Page 1 of 3

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