All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Uday K Vaidya

Advisory Committee Members

Selvum Pillay

Haibin Ning

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

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


ABSTRACT Pultrusion processing is a technique to make highly aligned fiber reinforced polymer composites. Thermoset pultrusion is a mature process and well established, while thermoplastic pultrusion in still in its infancy. Thermoplastic pultrusion has not been well established because thermoplastic resins are difficult to process due to their high viscosity. However, thermoplastic resins offer distinct advantages that make thermoplastic pultrusion worth exploring. The present work centers on developing a method to design and validate a die for a thermoplastic pultrusion system. Analytical models and various software tools were used to design a pultrusion die. Experimental measurements have been made to validate the models. One-dimensional transient heat transfer analysis was used to calculate the time required for pre-impregnated E-Glass/Polypropylene tapes to melt and consolidate into profiled shapes. Creo Element/Pro 1.0 was used to design the die, while ANSYS Work Bench 14.0 was used to conduct heat transfer analysis to understand the temperature profile of the pultrusion apparatus. Additionally Star-CCM+ was used to create a three-dimensional fluid flow model to capture the molten polymer flow inside the pultrusion die. The fluid model was used to understand the temperature of the flow and the force required to pull the material at any given temperature and line speed. A complete pultrusion apparatus including the die, heating unit, cooling unit, and the frame has been designed and manufactured as guided by the models, and pultruded profiles have been successfully produced. The results show that the analytical model and the fluid model show excellent correlation. The predicted and measured pulling forces are in agreement and show that the pull force increases as the pull speed increases. Furthermore, process induced residual stress and its influence on dimensional instability, such as bending or bowing, on pultruded composites was analyzed. The study indicated that unbalanced layup can produce asymmetrical residual stress through the thickness and causes the part to bow. Furthermore, the residual stress through the thickness was mapped with excellent accuracy. A design of experiments around the processing parameters indicated that increase in pull speed or decrease in die temperature increased the residual stress within the part.

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