The effect of additional surface coating on the performance of additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite mold

2020-06-23T18:16:13Z (GMT) by Garam Kim
A composite part manufacturing mold was considered one of the most important factors that affected a successful composite part manufacturing process for this research. A highly durable surface was required for the mold to prevent surface damages and increase mold life. A high surface finish quality of the mold improved the surface quality of the composite part and lowered the demolding force. However, the surface of additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite molds usually had lower durability and surface finish quality compared to traditional metal molds. To solve these issues, the author applied an additional coating on top of the additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite mold surface. A thermal analysis of the additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite material and the coating material were performed to select an applicable coating technique and coating material. The thermoset polymer coating with ceramic particles that was applied with a liquid spray coating technique was selected as a coating material. Various surface property tests were performed to evaluate the coated surface compared to the non-coated surface. The additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite test specimen manufacturing process and the coating application process were demonstrated in this study. The surface durability of the test specimens was tested using a surface hardness test and an abrasion resistance test. The surface performance of the test specimens was measured using a surface roughness test and a demolding test. The sustainability of the coating material on the additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite was tested using coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) test, coating adhesion test, and mold life experiment. In the mold life experiment, the non-coated and coated mold were used for multiple composite part manufacturing processes to investigate how the coating affected the life of the mold. The test results showed that the coated surface had a significantly improved surface abrasion resistance and demolding performance. However, the coating did not significantly improved surface hardness and roughness with the coating. The adhesion strength of the coating was not degraded even there was a coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch between the additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite and the coating material. The coated additively manufactured fiber reinforced composite mold was able to be used for multiple autoclave composite part manufacturing cycles. The coating covered most of the small voids on the mold surface and provided a more homogeneous surface compared to the non-coated mold, but the voids which could not be covered with the coating caused a chipped coating issue. Once the chipped coating occurred, the size of chipped coating got larger each time the tool was used for a composite part manufacturing cycle. Although the additional coating provided some improvements for the surface properties, the coating applied in this research could not be an ultimate solution to meet all the surface property requirements for composite part manufacturing mold.