Curing of Thick Thermoset Composite Laminates: Multiphysics Modeling and Experiments


Fiber reinforced polymer composites are used in high-performance aerospace applications as they are resistant to fatigue, corrosion free and possess high specific strength. The mechanical properties of these composite components depend on the degree of cure and residual stresses developed during the curing process. While these parameters are difficult to determine experimentally in large and complex parts, they can be simulated using numerical models in a cost-effective manner. These simulations can be used to develop cure cycles and change processing parameters to obtain high-quality parts. In the current work, a numerical model was built in Comsol MultiPhysics to simulate the cure behavior of a carbon/epoxy prepreg system (IM7/Cycom 5320–1). A thermal spike was observed in thick laminates when the recommended cure cycle was used. The cure cycle was modified to reduce the thermal spike and maintain the degree of cure at the laminate center. A parametric study was performed to evaluate the effect of air flow in the oven, post cure cycles and cure temperatures on the thermal spike and the resultant degree of cure in the laminate.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

Center for High Performance Computing Research


This work was supported by Technical Data Analysis, Inc. through the STTR N15A-T003 Phase I contract number N68335-15-C-0223.

Published online: 11 Nov 2017

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0929-189X; 1573-4897

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2017 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2018