Void Formation And Transport During SMC Manufacturing: Effect Of The Glass Fibre Sizing
The present study investigates the origin of voids in sheet molding compounds (SMCs) sheets and their transport during the manufacturing steps. Paste mixing, impregnation, thickening, and molding have been performed with five different SMC sheets, one without fibers and the others with four different types of glass fiber bundles. The fiber surface energy and bending rigidity were quantified, together with the paste surface energy. Void content was then measured at each manufacturing step. Two main void origins in SMC sheets have been observed: (i) air entrapment during paste mixing and (ii) poor bundle impregnation. These voids may be largely removed during SMC manufacturing. The quality of impregnation and void elimination during the flow is found to depend on the bundle characteristics (rigidity and surface energy) conferred by their sizing and over sizing.