Significant Effect of Microwave Curing on Tensile Strength of Carbon Fiber Composites

  • Brian B. Balzer (BEI Management Consulting/SAI Global)
  • Jeff McNabb (Indiana State University)


The traditional process for curing carbon fiber (CF) composites has been the autoclave system. A review of recent research indicates curing CF composites in a microwave oven has the potential for reducing processing time. The problem statement of the research study was that the impact of a microwave curing process on tensile strength (maximum tensile stress) of selected CF composite specimens was unknown. The research study describes the statistical procedure and analysis of data to answer the specific question for the experimental trials: What is the significant effect on the tensile strength of cured CF composite samples due to the variables of the autoclave and microwave curing process cycle time and temperature? ASTM International standard test method designation D 5083 – 02 was used for testing tensile strength of reinforced carbon fiber plastics using straight-sided specimens. Data was obtained for evaluating the effects of process cycle time and temperature on tensile strength of the CF composite specimens. The result was that curing time of the autoclave system and microwave process had significant effects on the tensile strength of CF composite specimens. The CF composite specimens from the microwave process showed lower tensile strength than the autoclave specimens due to greater void content.

Keywords: composite materials|manufacturing|materials and processes|materials testing|plastics/polymers

How to Cite:

Balzer, B. B. & McNabb, J., (2008) “Significant Effect of Microwave Curing on Tensile Strength of Carbon Fiber Composites”, The Journal of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering 24(3).

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Published on
01 Jul 2008