The effects of cure temperature variation on the properties of an out-of-autoclave polymer composite manufactured using Cycom 5320 8HS prepreg were investigated using different postcure temperatures of a two-stage cure cycle. In addition, the effects of adverse environmental conditions on the cure temperature variation were studied by conditioning the samples in an environmental chamber until they reached moisture equilibrium. The state of cure was obtained using a differential scanning calorimeter and dynamic mechanical analyzer. The mechanical properties were obtained using short-beam shear (SBS) and combined loading compression (CLC) test methods. The state of cure obtained showed increases in total heat of reaction, degree of cure, and glass transition temperature as the postcure temperature increased. The SBS and CLC strengths showed an increasing trend as postcure temperature increased. Good correlations were obtained between the material's cure temperatures, state of cure, and mechanical properties for room temperature dry and hot wet conditions. The study showed that the state of cure can be used to define, monitor, and verify the cure quality. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 130: 3090–3097, 2013
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