Autoclave molding is a process used to impart a controlled heat and pressure cycle cure to a layup. This article describes the materials used for preparing a layup, including peel ply, separator, bleeder, barrier, breather, dam, and vacuum bag. It describes the major elements and functions of an autoclave system, including pressure vessel, gas stream heating and circulation sources, gas stream pressurizing systems, vacuum systems, control systems, and loading systems. The article includes information about modified autoclaves for specialized applications and safety practices in autoclave molding. It also describes the tooling configuration and type of tooling which includes aluminum and steel tooling, electroformed nickel tooling, graphite-epoxy tooling, and elastomeric tooling.
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