All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Selvum Pillay

Advisory Committee Members

Haibin Ning

Charles A Monroe

Alejandra J Monsivais

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Science in Materials Engineering (MSMtE) School of Engineering


Unidirectional and woven carbon or glass fibers are the most common reinforcements used in these automotive composites. To take full advantage of these materials, it is of importance to evaluate the different processes to manufacture them. The purpose of this research work is to characterize, optimize and manufacture fiber reinforced thermoset composites using the compression molding process for the application of producing improved automotive leaf springs. An epoxy resin matrix that is reinforced with E-glass fiber is the material of interest. These thermoset-based composites are evaluated to substitute the currently used steel parts in order to reduce the weight and accordingly improve fuel efficiency. The material used is a pre-impregnated or “pre-preg” containing 68% by weight E-glass fiber with Epoxy resin. The superior mechanical properties of glass fibers and the high stiffness and thermal properties of the epoxy matrix are the main elements that make this type of composites suitable for replacing the steel leaf spring suspension system. By characterizing the epoxy glass fiber reinforced composite mechanical and thermal properties, a baseline reference is obtained to optimize the processing parameters (time and temperature) without altering in a faulty way the properties. After full characterization and process optimization, a finite element model was created to predict the performance of the material in the suggested application and under a common test setup for the actual steel parts. Using the compression molding technique, a prototype was manufactured and tested in the same conditions as the model, so it can be correlated. Using the simulation software, different fiber orientations and layup sequences were tested to improve the properties of the composite due to its orthotropic properties.

Included in

Engineering Commons



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