Instabilities driven by frontal polymerization in thermosetting polymers and composites

E. Goli, S. R. Peterson, P. H. Geubelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Frontal Polymerization (FP) was recently demonstrated as a faster, more energy-efficient way to manufacture fiber-reinforced thermosetting-polymer-matrix composites. FP uses heat from the exothermic reaction of the solution of monomer and initiator to generate a self-propagating polymerization front. In most cases, the polymerization front propagates in a steady fashion. However, under some conditions, the front experiences instabilities, which do affect the quality of the manufactured composite part. In this work, we use a coupled thermo-chemical model and an adaptive nonlinear finite element solver to simulate FP-driven instabilities in dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) and in carbon-fiber DCPD-matrix composites. With the aid of 1-D transient simulations, we investigate how the initial temperature and the carbon fiber volume fraction affect the amplitude and wavelength of the thermal instabilities. We also extract the range of processing conditions for which the instabilities are predicted to appear. The last part of this work investigates the effect of convective heat loss on the FP-driven instabilities in both neat resin and composite cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108306
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
StatePublished - Oct 15 2020


  • Dicyclopentadiene
  • Fiber-reinforced composite
  • Finite element
  • Frontal polymerization
  • Thermal instability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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