Abstract: Determination of optimum curing conditions provides quality assurance in the production of high performance composite materials. To this end, many techniques have been developed for monitoring and controlling the variables of the curing process. In this study, the effect of several curing parameters, including curing temperature, curing period and curing pressure on the mechanical properties of silica-phenolic composites were investigated. Commercially available high silica fabric and a heat reactive, resole type phenolic resin (SC1008) were used in the production of composite laminates. After the impregnation step, the laminates were cured utilizing hot press under various cure conditions. The mechanical properties of the high-silica phenolic composite laminates were characterized in terms of tensile, combined loading compression, flexural and hardness (Shore D) tests. The densities and void contents of the composite laminates were measured using Archimedes principle. The results confirmed that both fibre and matrix dominated mechanical properties of the silica phenolic composites were affected by the curing process during composite manufacturing. Optimum curing conditions for this silica-phenolic composite system was determined as 1h at 165° C under a pressure of 8 bars.
Keywords: Curing Conditions, Silica-Phenolic Composites, Compression Moulding, Mechanical Properties.