J. Phys. IV France
Volume 120, December 2004
Page(s) 467 - 472

J. Phys. IV France 120 (2004) 467-472

DOI: 10.1051/jp4:2004120053

Simulations of heat transfers in an autoclave. Applications to the curing of composite material parts

P. Salagnac, P. Dutournie and P. Glouannec

Laboratoire d'Études Thermiques, Énergétiques et Environnement (LET2E), UBS, Centre de recherche, rue Saint-Maudé, BP. 92116, 56321 Lorient Cedex, France

In this work, a small diameter autoclave for curing of composite material parts is studied. The particularity of this study arises from the heat exchanges, which are mainly free convection and radiation. The part is set in the matrix and it must respect a thermal cycle. It is necessary to take into account the different constraints connected to the use of the autoclave and the thermal behaviour of the matrix (limitation of tubular steel and matrix temperatures, temperature gradient in the curing part). This work is devoted to determinate the temperature profile in a section of the autoclave by numerical simulations realised by using the software package Fluent©. The taking different heat exchanges into account and the reticulation reaction heat contribution allow know the material temperature repartition during the curing. The aim is to propose solutions for minimising thermal gradients in the part and obtaining good mechanical specifications. In the simulations, we can observe a non-thermal homogeneity in the matrix and the autoclave because of the complexity of heat transfers and the particular geometry. These tests show the necessity to control the tubular steel temperature and in other part to make a good conception of the matrix configuration.

© EDP Sciences 2004