Effect of convection coefficient and thickness on optimal cure cycles for the manufacturing of wind turbine components using VARTM

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The paper deals with the influence of the convection coefficient and laminate thickness on multi-objective optimisation of the vacuum assisted resin transfer moulding cure stage for the manufacturing of wind turbine components. An epoxy resin system widely used in the wind turbine industry has been chemically characterised and the correspondent finite element implementation validated. The optimisation methodology developed links the finite element solution with a genetic algorithm and identifies a set of optimal cure cycles for a range of thicknesses (10–100 mm) able to minimise cure time (t
) and the maximum degree of cure gradient developed through thickness (Δα
) during the cure stage as a measure of quality of the product. The results highlight that, by adding convection coefficient as design parameter of the process, significant benefits could be obtained when insulation is applied at the vacuum bag side for all thicknesses.