Cure-induced residual stresses for warpage reduction in thermoset laminates

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The paper addresses the role played by the cure stage of a vacuum assisted resin transfer molding process in residual stresses generation. The Airstone 780E epoxy resin and Hardener 785H system broadly used in the wind turbine blade industry has been used in this study. The viscous–elastic properties of the resin have been characterized and implemented in a thermo-mechanical FE model. The model has been validated against manufactured [0/90]4 asymmetric laminates. Analysis of residual stresses generation highlighted that compressive stresses generation occurs when the cure is shrinkage dominated and tensile stresses when expansion dominated in the 0° plies. The finding points out that 10% reduction in warpage and 33% reduction in process time can be obtained by selecting cure cycle parameters that allow tensile stresses development during the cure process in the 0° plies.