In this study polymer-matrix composite has been processed using autoclave and Quickstep techniques. A phenomenological approach was adopted for the optimization of cure cycle for Quickstep of an aerospace grade epoxy composite (Cycom 977-2A carbon/epoxy prepregs). Though there are reports concerning the processing and properties of materials using Quickstep technique, little work has been reported on the design of optimized cure cycle for Quickstep processing based on rheology, ultrasonic testing, and mechanical characterization. A step by step account is provided in this study, describing the introduction, balancing and combination of isothermal dwell periods and temperature ramps in order to control the resin viscosity. All the panels manufactured were qualitatively assessed using ultrasonic C-scan and afterwards fiber and void content, panel thickness, flexural strength, and interlaminar shear strength (ILSS) were assessed and compared with those obtained from traditional autoclave- and oven-cured laminates. The Quickstep panel properties produced from optimized cure cycle was superior to oven curing and was comparable with autoclave. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci., 2013
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