Fibre alignment and mechanical performance of carbon fibre Sheet Moulding Compounds under different preform compaction

Biruk F. Nega, Robert S. Pierce, Linlin Liu, Xiaosu Yi, Xiaoling Liu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This work investigates the effect of preform compaction on the mechanical performance and flow-induced fibre alignment of carbon fibre reinforced Sheet Moulding Compounds (SMCs). Two groups of panels have been compression moulded from reclaimed carbon fibre tows in vinyl-ester resin with low (0.5 MPa) and high (10 MPa) preform compaction pressure Additionally, a low-cost fibre orientation analysis method has been further improved in terms of reliability, and a novel flow assessment method has been developed for carbon fibre SMCs. This approach revealed greater fibre alignment with the flow direction in the lower faces of panels as a result of greater contact time with the heated mould and a lower charge viscosity at the time of pressing. As expected, greater fibre alignment in the flow direction was observed outside the initial charge coverage area in both types of panels, where the flow was greatest. Due to additional fibre flow during the high-pressure compaction stage, the mean degree of flow alignment in the high compaction panel was 47% higher than that of the low compaction panel. Improvements in the tensile stiffness (8%) and strength (32%) were also observed as a result of the high-pressure compaction stage and associated flow alignment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-525
JournalJournal of Reinforced Plastics and Composites
Issue number13-14
Early online date7 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished Online - 7 Jan 2022


  • fibre orientation
  • flow alignment
  • processing
  • Sheet Moulding Compounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


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