Autoclave molding is a modification
of pressure-bag and vacuum-bag molding.
This advanced composite process produces
denser, void free moldings because higher
heat and pressure are used for curing. It
is widely used in the aerospace industry
to fabricate high strength/weight ratio
parts from preimpregnated high strength
fibers for aircraft, spacecraft and missiles.
Autoclaves are essentially heated pressure
vessels usually equipped with vacuum systems
into which the bagged lay-up on the mold
is taken for the cure cycle. Curing pressures
are generally in the range of 50 to 100
psi and cure cycles normally involve many
hours. The method accommodates higher temperature
matrix resins such as epoxies, having higher
properties than conventional resins. Autoclave
size limits part size.