Project Code: 16107
Project Title: Castable Tooling Improvements for Composite Manufacturing
Project Type: Faculty
Project Intellectual Property: University Controlled
Project Citizenship Restriction: No
Sponsor Company: Advanced Ceramics Manufacturing
Description: Manufacturing processes that use carbon fiber composites all face the same challenge: removing the mandrel core from the cured part. One solution is castable, water-soluble aggregates typically composed of plasters and binders. This method works well for composites with complex geometries that make removing the mandrel core difficult and labor-intensive. The sponsor’s AquaPour is a castable, water-soluble product used to make composites in the aerospace, defense and sporting goods industries. The objectives of this project are to increase the product’s green strength for faster mandrel extraction from molds, improve compression strength, optimize water transport and delivery, and improve washout time. The resulting design involves methods such as crosslinking polymers and using desiccants to absorb water and prevent hemihydrate formation, optimization of water content and recipe, and incorporation of sodium silicate with ester-driven reaction for hardening.