Composites Design and Manufacture (Plymouth University teaching support materials)
Mould tools

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Tool design

Novel concepts Reference
Tool materials
Decision matrix


Heating [1]

  1. MW Arney, S Grove, I Progoulakis, T Searle, D Short, J Spooner and J Summerscales, Integrally-heated tooling for the manufacture of fibre-reinforced composites, Composites Processing 2004, Composites Processing Association, Bromsgrove, 23 April 2004.  MooDLE
  2. R Abdalrahman, Numerical studies of integrally-heated tooling, Plymouth University Engineering Research Seminar, Wednesday 26 November 2014.
  3. G Marsh, Mould tool heating – the oven-free alternative, Reinforced Plastics, December 2003, 47(11), 38–41.
  4. J Lee, IY Stein, SS Kessler and BL Wardle, Aligned carbon nanotube film enables thermally induced state transformations in layered polymeric materials, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2015, 7(16), 8900–8905.
  5. G Gardiner, Heated Composites, CompositesWorld, 13 May 2015.
  6. J Jacob, LHL Chia and FYC Boey, Thermal and non-thermal interaction of microwave radiation with materials, Journal of Materials Science, 1 November 1995, 30(21), 5321-5327.
  7. MS Johnson, The application of microwave preheating in Resin Transfer Moulding, PhD thesis, University of Nottingham, July 1995.
  8. ET Thostenson and T-W Chou, Microwave processing: fundamentals and applications, Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 1999, A30(9), 1055-1071.
  9. T Wang and J Liu, A review of microwave curing of polymeric materials, Journal of Electronics Manufacturing, 2000, 10(3), 181-189.
  10. Y Li, N Li and J Gao, Tooling design and microwave curing technologies for the manufacturing of fiber-reinforced polymer composites in aerospace applications, International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, January 2014, 70(1-4), 591-606.

Lost cores

  1. G Musch and W Bishop, Tooling with reinforced elastomeric materials, Composites Manufacturing, 1992, 3(2), 101-111.  Notable for intensifiers and inflatable mandrels.
  2. Specialized Elastomeric ToolingTM, accessed at 09:26 on 02 October 2015.
  3. Specialized Elastomeric Tooling (3'11" Vistex Composites on YouTube)
  4. RC Haines, Volume production with carbon fibre reinforced thermoplastics, Plastics and Rubber Processing and Applications, 1985, 5(1), 79-84.
  5. K Fischer, Materials for the fusible-core technique and half-shell technique, publication and date not given (alternative URL).
  6. JH Schut, Close-up on 'lost-core': a puzzle with many pieces (injection molding technique), Plastics Technology, 01 December 1991.
  7. M Brierley, M Prest and C James, Composite coil over spring, BEng MEC MATS320 assignment, University of Plymouth, April 2014 (N/A outside PU).
  8. R Blackburn, The manufacture and testing of perforated composite acoustic panels, MPhil thesis, University of Plymouth, 2009.
  9. Anon., RTM hollow mouldings: from fiction to fact, Reinforced Plastics, April 1994, 38(4), 34-37.
  10. Anon., Hollow RTM becomes a booming business, Reinforced Plastics, January 1995, 39(1), 20-23.
  11. T Kruckenberg and R Paton (editors), Resin Transfer Moulding for Aerospace Structures, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht NL, 1998. ISBN 0-412-73150-9.  Google Books extract.


Ancillary materials

Surface finish

The surface finish on a component when taken from the mould will never be better than the surface of the mould tool from which it has been taken.  Further, it is possible that resin shrinkage during the cure of thermosetting matrix composites will reveal the topology of the reinforcement fabric - this is known as "print-through". The automotive industry dedicates considerable effort to producing vehicles which have a high gloss, consistent colour finish with minimal defects where the surface reflects a grid under controlled lighting conditions without significant distortion. This is generally referred to as "Class A" finish, but there is no rigorous definition for this parameter and hence each potential customer may have different specifications.  Wood [1] has recently considered these requirements.  Key parameters are bond-line read-through, distinctness of image (DOI), fibre print-through, orange peel, pinholes and texture.  A variety of instruments are available to "measure" the finish including the Ashland Laser Surface Analyzer (ALSA, which superseded the Laser Optical Reflected Image Analyzer (LORIA)) and the BYG-Gardner Wavescan DOI, ISRA Vision CPV (Car Paint Vision), Micro-Epsilon reflectControl and Visuol Ondulo deflectometry technology.  Further, the use of fractal dimension [2] or wavelet texture analysis [3] have been considered.


  1. K Wood, Taking subjectivity out of Class A surface evaluation, Composites Technology, August 2008, 14(4), 67-70.
  2. Q Labrosse, CP Hoppins and J Summerscales, Objective assessment of the surface quality of coated surfaces, Insight, January 2011, 53(1), 16-20.
  3. S Palmer, W Hall and J Summerscales, Ranking of fibre-reinforced composite plate surface finish quality by wavelet texture analysis, Insight, June 2016, 58(6), 318-323.

Further information:

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Updated by John Summerscales on 29-Oct-2020 9:42. Terms and conditions. Errors and omissions. Corrections.