Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 February 2011
Microwave processing has been investigated as an alternative to conventional thermal method in processing polymer matrix composite materials. The main advantages of microwave processing over thermal processing are that: 1) microwave heating is volumetric, direct, selective, instantaneous, and controllable which offers advantages such as fast heating and minimization of temperature excursion; 2) microwave radiation can provide many desirable features in polymer and composite processing, such as enhanced polymerization rates and glass transition temperatures of thermosets, improved mechanical properties of composite materials, and increased adhesion between graphite fibers and matrix.
Microwave heating has been used in food processing, drying, material processing, waste treatment, and organic synthesis. This paper summarizes the current status of microwave technology for the processing of polymer matrix composite materials. The discussion will be focused on the use and development of batch and continuous techniques using tunable single mode resonant microwave cavities for processing polymer composites.
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