A mathematical model for RTM process simulations in geometries with irregular shapes


  • B Coutinho
  • V Bezerra
  • S Neto
  • A Lima




Composites made by using RTM processes have attractive properties to aerospace and automotive industries. However, it is mandatory optimize all process parameters. Some mathematical models developed to predict fluid flow in porous media may be used as a support tool for laboratory studies. These models present complex sets of differential partial equations that may be solved numerically, via discretization methods. This work presents a mathematical model to predict resin and air flow in RTM processes. The finite volume method was used to discretize the equations written in boundary fitted coordinates, without the need for any front tracking algorithm. To validate the methodology, numerical results for flow front positions in rectilinear flows were compared to analytical data. The model was also employed to describe the fluid flow in geometries with arbitrary irregular boundaries.


Shojaei A.; Ghaffarian S. R.; Karimian S. M. H. Modeling and simulation approaches in the resin transfer molding process: a review. Polymer Composites, 24 (4):525-544, Aug 2003a. https://doi.org/10.1002/pc.10050

Long A. C. Design and manufacture of textile composites. CRC Press, 1 ed., 2006.

Chui W.; Glimm J.; Tangerman F.; Jardine A.; Madsen J.; Donnellan T.; Leek R. Porosity migration in RTM. Numerical methods in thermal problems., 9:1323-1334, 1995.

Phelan F. R.; Frederick R. Simulation of the injection process in resin transfer molding. Polymer Composites, 18(4): 460-476, 1997. https://doi.org/10.1002/pc.10298

Shojaei A.; Ghaffarian S. R.; Karimian S. M. H. Numerical simulation of three-dimensional mold filling in resin transfer molding. Journal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites, 22(16):1497-1529, Nov 2003b. https://doi.org/10.1177/073168403027612

Lee S. H.; Yang M.; Song Y. S.; Kim S. Y.; Youn J. R. Three-dimensional flow simulation of resin transfer molding utilizing multilayered fiber preform. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 114(3):1803-1812, 2009. https://doi.org/10.1002/app.30698

Shi F.; Dong X. 3D numerical simulation of filling and curing processes in non-isothermal RTM process cycle. Finite Elements in Analysis and Design, 47(7): 764-770, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.finel.2011.02.007

Dai F.; Zhang B.; Du S. Analysis of upper- and lower- limits of fill time in resin transfer mold filling simulation. Journal of Composite Materials, 38(13):1115-1136, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021998304042078

Chang R.-Y.; Yang W.-H. Numerical simulation of mold filling in injection molding using a three-dimensional finite volume approach. International Journal for Numerical Methods in Fluids, 37(2):125-148, 2001. https://doi.org/10.1002/fld.166

Yang J.; Jia Y.; Sun S.; Ma D.; Shi T.; An L. Mesoscopic simulation of the impregnating process of unidirectional fibrous preform in resin transfer molding. Materials Science and Engineering: A, 435-436:515-520, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.msea.2006.07.110

Schmidt F. M.; Lafleur P.; Berthet F.; Devos P. Numerical simulation of resin transfer molding using linear Boundary Element Method. Polymer Composites, 20 (6): 725-732, 1999. https://doi.org/10.1002/pc.10396

Soukane S.; Trochu F. Application of the Level Set method to the simulation of resin transfer molding. Composites Science and Technology, 66(7-8):1067-1080, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compscitech.2005.03.001

Gantois R.; Cantarel A.; Felices J.-N.; Schmidt F. Numerical simulation of resin transfer molding using BEM and Level Set Method. International Journal of Material Forming, 3:635-638, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12289-010-0850-9

Maliska C. R. Computational heat transfer and fluid mechanics. LTC, 2 ed., 2004 (in Portuguese).

Allen III M. B. Numerical modelling of multiphase flow in porous media. Advances in Water Resources, 8:162-187, 1985. https://doi.org/10.1016/0309-1708(85)90062-4

Chui W. K.; Glimm J.; Tangerman F. M.; Jardine A. P.; Madsen J. S.; Donnellan T. M.; Leek R. Process modeling in resin transfer molding as a method to enhance product quality. SIAM review, páginas 714-727, 1997. https://doi.org/10.1137/s0036144596308546

Vafai K. Handbook of Porous Media, 2 ed. Taylor & Francis, 2005.

Kumar V. Coupling of Free Flow and Flow in Porous Media - Dimensional Analysis and Numerical Investigation. Diplomarbeit, Institut für Wasserbau, Universität Stuttgart, 2012.

Coutinho, B. G. Mathematical Modeling Using Boundary Fitted Coordinates and Development of a Computational Simulator for Applications in Resin Transfer Molding Processes. Thesis (Doctorate in Process Engineering), Federal University of Campina Grande, Brazil, 2013, p.201. (in Portuguese).

Shojaei A. Numerical simulation of three-dimensional flow and analysis of filling process in compression resin transfer moulding. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 37(9):1434-1450, 2006. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compositesa.2005.06.021



How to Cite

Coutinho, B., Bezerra, V., Neto, S. and Lima, A. (2014) “A mathematical model for RTM process simulations in geometries with irregular shapes”, The International Journal of Multiphysics, 8(3), pp. 285-296. doi: 10.1260/1750-9548.8.3.285.




Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>