Autoclave curing using the vacuum bagging method is widely used for the manufacture of advanced composite prepreg airframe structures. Due to increasing use of advanced composites, specific techniques have been developed to repair damaged composite structures. In order to repair the damaged part, it is required that the damaged areas be removed, such as skin and/or honeycomb core, by utilizing the proper method and then repairing the area by laying up prepreg (and core) then curing under vacuum using the vacuum bagging materials. It shall be cured either in an oven or autoclave per the original specification requirements. Delamination can be observed in the sound areas during and/or after a couple of times exposure to the elevated curing temperature due to the repeated repair condition. This study was conducted for checking the degree of degradation of properties of the cured parts and delamination between skin prepreg and honeycomb core. Specimens with glass honeycomb sandwich construction and glass/epoxy prepreg were prepared. The specimens were cured 1 to 5 times at 260°F in an autoclave and each additionally exposed 50, 100 and 150 hours in the 260°F oven.
Each specimen was tested for tensile strength, compressive strength, flatwise tensile strength and interlaminar shear strength. To monitor the characteristics of the resin itself, the cured resin was tested using DMA and DSC. As a results, the decrease of Tg value were observed in the specific specimen which was exposed over 50 hrs at 260°F. This means the change or degradative of resin properties is also related to the decrease of flatwise tensile properties. Accordingly, minimal exposure on the curing temperature is recommended for parts in order to prevent the delamination and maintain the better condition.