Experimental characterization and numerical modeling of the interaction between carbon fiber composite prepregs during a preforming process

Weizhao Zhang, Xuan Ma, Jie Lu, Zixuan Zhang, Q. Jane Wang, Xuming Su, Danielle Zeng, Mansour Mirdamadi, Jian Cao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Carbon fiber reinforced composites have received growing attention because of their superior performance and high potential for lightweight systems. An economic method to manufacture the parts made of these composites is a sequence of forming followed by a compression molding. The first step in this sequence is called preforming that forms the prepreg, which is the fabric impregnated with the uncured resin, to the product geometry, while the molding process cures the resin. Slip between different prepreg layers is observed in the preforming step, and it is believed to have a non-negligible impact on the resulting geometry. This paper reports a method to characterize the interaction between different prepreg layers, which should be valuable for future predictive modeling and design optimization. An experimental device was built to evaluate the interactions with respect to various industrial production conditions. The experimental results were analyzed for an in-depth understanding about how temperature, relative sliding speed, and fiber orientation affect the tangential interaction between two prepreg layers. Moreover, a hydro-lubricant model was introduced to study the relative motion mechanism of this fabric-resin-fabric system, and the results agreed well with the experiment data. The interaction factors obtained from this research will be implemented in a preforming process finite element simulation model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number081003
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • friction test
  • hydro-lubrication
  • performing
  • prepreg interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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