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Title: In-situ cure monitoring of epoxy resin systems
Authors: Powell, Graham
Advisors: France, C
Fernando, G
Keywords: Optical fibre sensors;Cure state;Silicone cladding layer;Evanescent absorption sensor;Refractive index sensor
Issue Date: 1998
Publisher: Brunel University School of Engineering and Design PhD Theses
Abstract: This thesis describes the work carried out at Brunel University to develop novel optical fibre sensors capable of monitoring the cure state of an epoxy/amine resin system. The sensors were of simple construction, consisting of an optical fibre from which the silicone cladding layer had been removed over a short length. This stripped length was embedded into the curing resin system. The sensor was successfully used in two ways: i) as an evanescent absorption sensor to monitor specific absorption bands of the resin system. The absorption of energy from the evanescent wave of the optical fibre by absorbing media allows evanescent absorption spectra to be obtained. Absorption spectra were obtained from sensors embedded in a model curing resin system over narrow wavelength ranges. These wavelength ranges corresponded to positions of known absorptions in the spectra of active components in epoxy/amine systems. By monitoring the change in these absorptions it was possible to obtain information about concentration of the amine hardener functional group throughout cure; ii) as a refractive index sensor capable of monitoring the changes in the refractive index of the resin system during cure. A laser diode was used to launch light into the sensor and the intensity of light emerging from the other end of the fibre was monitored. Changes in the resin system refractive index caused changes in the guiding properties of this the sensor. This resulted in a significant change in the intensity of light recorded by the detector and allowed the cure process to be followed. This sensor was also embedded into a unidirectional pre-preg system and was able to follow the cure of the system. The results from the two sensing methods have been compared with data obtained using FTIR spectroscopy and Abbe refractometry during the resin system cure. A theoretical model of sensor response has been developed and compared with the experimental data obtained. The sensor response has also been compared to predictions made by several models of evanescent sensor systems obtained from the literature. These models have been modified so that they can be applied to a sensor embedded into a curing resin system. An analysis of the correspondence between theory and experiment is presented.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Brunel University Theses
Materials Engineering

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