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How are curing cycles for thermosets determined?

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Oct4-13, 05:32 AM
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I'm a materials student, doing a bigger project on high temperature polymers (mostly polyimide).
Right now I'm looking at the different curing cycles that are used in manufacturing and I'm wondering how these are determined (they usually consist of a series of temperature increases and holding at these temperatures for a an hour or so). The papers that detail the process very seldom justify why they choose those particular curing steps.

I'm imagining it having something do with reaction rates and and evaporation of solvents, but this is not something that I've been able to confirm.

Any help or information on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Simon Bridge
Oct5-13, 12:30 AM
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They are usually determined empirically - i.e. different curing cycles are tried, and the resulting material is tested.
The manufacturer decides which process they are prepared to back with the standard consumer guarantees.

What sort of cycles to try is determined by experience with similar polymers.

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