A model is presented for the flow, heat transfer, and curing that occurs during compression molding of reinforced thermoset polymers. The model applies to thin parts with slowly varying thickness and arbitrary planar geometry. Non-Newtonian fluid behavior, temperature dependent viscosity, and the heat liberated by curing are all rigorously accounted for. A finite element computer program implementing the model for isothermal Newtonian and power law fluids has been written, and some sample results are given. Unique features of the simulation allow it to run without operator interaction. Comparison with experiments shows that the isothermal models accurately predict deformations of non-Newtonian and nonisothermal materials such as sheet molding compound. Limitations of the model with regard to part thickness and the rheological properties of the molding compound are discussed.

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