Storage & Handling of Prepregs

Composite materials are now widely used in various industries because of the advantages they have over ordinary materials. For instance, they can provide desired high strength of material in aerospace, without adding unnecessarily weight in component.

Prepreg composites should be stored in a cool and dry or in a refrigerator. You also need to allow the prepreg to reach room temperature on removing from the refrigerator, in order to prevent condensation. Prepreg composites can stay for up to 12 months when stored at a temperature of – 18 ºC. The matrix determines the tack life at 23 ºC. Storage and handling are two important factors you need to consider when buying autoclave composites and prepreg composites.

However, prepegs have a low risk when being handled due to the below reasons:

1. Both sides are covered by protective coverings and the coverings are not to be removed until assembly lay-up. In addition, the prepeg composites need to be cut into the desired shapes before the coverings are removed, so no handling will be necessary before that.

2. They do not have any loose fibrous dust. They are also splash-free, do not leak or spill. This is in comparison to the wet lay-up methods involved in the manufacture of fiber reinforced composites. In this case of fiber reinforced composites, the dry fiber and liquid resin are used.

3. They are volatile and have a moderate/low tack level at normal room temperature.

Protecting yourself :-

It is important to learn how to handle autoclave composites and prepreg composites, particularly how to protect your hands and body. You should wear gloves and ensure arms are covered to avoid any skin contact with prepegs. Otherwise, touching them repeatedly touch prepreg with unprotected hands might lead to allergic reactions.

There are also fibrous materials that result from machining cured products and you should be careful when dealing with this because inhaling it can be dangerous. You should ensure to install positive dust extraction and collection systems at the cutting zone. You should also prevent dust formation and ignition sources when machining cured products as thus can cause fire. Dust from products that have carbon fiber parts is a good conductor of electricity.