Flow modeling of the VARTM process including progressive saturation effects

John M. Bayldon*, Isaac M. Daniel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Modeling of vacuum based liquid composite molding methods (e.g., VARTM) relies on good understanding of closely coupled phenomena. The resin flow depends on the preform permeability, which in turn depends on the local fluid pressure; the preform compaction behavior, and the membrane stresses in the vacuum bag. It has also been shown that for many preforms there is a significant unsaturated region behind the flow front, and that the flow in this region affects the overall flow behavior of the process. Studies of preform compaction have shown that the preform stiffness, as well as being non-linear and exhibiting significant hysteresis, is dependant on the fluid saturation. For this reason most researchers model the preform compaction based on the pressure-compaction behavior of saturated preforms during unloading. This assumption leads to an effective discontinuity in preform thickness at the flow front, which is not observed in actual experiments. In this paper an improved compaction model incorporating the saturation dependence of the compaction pressure in the partially saturated region, is used in a one-dimensional model of the VARTM process. The model gives physically more realistic results for the thickness in the flow front region, and an improved model for the consolidation of the preform at the end of infusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1044-1052
Number of pages9
JournalComposites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • A. Fabrics/textiles
  • A. Preform
  • C. Computational modeling
  • E. Resin flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials


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