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Round Robin study to evaluate fabric permeability testing methods

Host Institution: The University of Nottingham

Start Date: 1st January, 2017

Duration: 31/12/2018

Lead Investigator: Andreas Endruweit


Platform funding allowed the University of Nottingham to participate in international activities on benchmarking of experimental techniques for characterisation of reinforcement processing properties. 

Since permeability characterisation is a prerequisite for design and optimisation of Liquid Composite Moulding processes, demand from the composites industry is high. The University of Nottingham has been providing experimental permeability characterisation as a service to the UK industry for more than 10 years. However, there is a lack of standardisation for measurement of the reinforcement permeability. Permeability data obtained using different methods are not necessarily consistent, which affects the usefulness of the data. Following discussions within the composites community, involving the National Composites Centre, the need for joint activities in the field of permeability characterisation was identified. Building on previous worldwide activities on benchmarking of permeability measurement (with participation of the University of Nottingham), two programs were launched:   

  1. Measurement of in-plane permeability, focusing on the radial flow technique; led by Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe, Germany; 22 participating institutions worldwide.  
  1. Measurement of through-thickness permeability and compressibility; led by National Physical Laboratory, UK; 30 participating institutions worldwide.  

The aim of these activities is to further improve understanding of experimental issues and work towards standardisation of characterisation methods. 

Key Achievements

  • Both programs were completed in 2018. A full report on program A was published in 2019. A report on program B will be published in 2020.
  • Prof Andy Long and Dr Andreas Endruweit acted as members of the steering committee for both programs.
  • Platform funding paid for one Research Fellow (Dr Andreas Endruweit) to work part-time on:
  • Helping the program leaders with formulation of guidelines for experimental procedures, which were then distributed to all participants;
  • Carrying out series of radial in-plane permeability tests, through-thickness permeability tests and fabric compaction tests; documenting and reporting the experimental work;
  • Evaluating and compiling data acquired by other participants;
  • Contributing to preparation of manuscripts and presentations.
  • Other institutions had to find their own funding to participate in these activities.
  • The studies were supported by Hexcel and Saertex, who provided reinforcement fabrics for the test series free of charge.

Evidence of Impact

Statistical analysis of a large data volume generated during the program allowed identification of most critical error sources in reinforcement permeability testing. 

Potential follow-up activities based on the results of the completed programs are discussed in the worldwide composites community. Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe, Germany, have started work on formulating a draft DIN/ISO standard. 

 Improved understanding of experimental issues feeds into the Hub Core Project “Resin injection into reinforcement with uncertain heterogeneous properties: NDE and control. 

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