Research conducted on in situ process monitoring of resin transfer molded composites with fiber optic sensors is presented. A laboratory scale resin transfer molding (RTM) apparatus was designed and built with the capability of embedding fiber optic sensors and visually observing the resin filling process. Both fiber Bragg grating (FBG) and etched fiber (EF) sensors are embedded into glass fiber reinforcements in the RTM mold and used to monitor the resin flow front and cure. The cure cycle of the resin system utilized in this work is also studied using a Fresnel reflection refractometer (FRR) sensor. The results of this study show that both the FBG and EF sensors can be used efficiently for flow and cure monitoring of the RTM process. The experimental results of the EF and FRR sensors agree with those of the FBG sensors for cure monitoring.

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