The manufacturing of wet-laid hydroentangled glass hybrid composites: preliminary results

The potential for manufacturing a nonwoven preform for composites using blends of glass and low melt polyester or bicomponent sheath/core (polyester/polyethylene) fibers is demonstrated. Wet-lay webs were hydroentangled to form strong, flexible preforms that could be easily manipulated for the production of compression molded composites. An appropriate white water recipe for dispersing glass and binder fibers was critical to the formation of good quality webs. Optimal dispersion times were determined experimentally by examining the total number of defects present in hand sheet samples. To achieve the required web density, several wet-laid sheets were stacked and hydroentangled into a single sheet. This final sheet structure was subsequently heat pressed in a mold to achieve the final form. Forming temperatures producing binder fiber melting and a rigid uniform composite were selected. Mechanical properties of these composites were evaluated. Composite strength increased with increasing glass fiber content (up to 30-40%).