Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Hota V. S. GangaRao

Committee Co-Chair

P. V. Vijay


Design and manufacturing of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composite panels using high temperature vacuum assisted resin infusion molding (HT-VARIM) and evaluation of their mechanical properties were carried out through this research effort. The two major process parameters, temperature and percentage of catalyst mixed with resin, were optimized to obtain superior quality composites through in-situ curing under vacuum pressure of 13 to 14 psi.;Initially, composite specimens with glass fabrics and vinyl ester resin were manufactured with 1.5% and 2% catalyst by weight and cured at four different curing temperatures: room temperature, 120°F, 150°F, and 200°F. The specimens were preliminarily tested under four point bending loads and examined under scanning electron microscope (SEM). HT-VARIM manufactured composites having vinyl ester resin with 1.5% catalyst and cured at 150°F temperatures provided the highest bending modulus, ultimate stress and lower percentage of air voids. Both design and manufacturing procedure of cellular FRP pavement panels with required fiber/fabric configuration were thus formalized based on data obtained from laboratory manufactured specimens. Later, test specimens and panels were manufactured at coupon and component level by HT-VARIM during different phases of this research. Finally, prototype FRP pavement panels were manufactured by Fiber-tech Inc. for field installation by West Virginia Department of Highways (WVDOH). These pavement panels are scheduled for field installation in early spring 2009 near Morgantown, West Virginia.;Tension, bending and short beam shear tests were conducted on coupon specimens cut from the HT-VARIM panels made in phases I and II, and also under mass-production schemes. Panels were tested under three point bending loads (corresponding to HS25 truck loading) and fatigue (3 Hz frequency) loading. Panel layout and connection drawings for field installation are provided in Appendix A. In addition, glass fabric based lightweight honeycomb panels were also manufactured by VARIM process and results of the tests carried out on those specimens are presented in Appendix B. A 3D stitching technique (provisional patent number: 60/918,398), developed as a part of this research work is provided in Appendix C including recommendations for further improvements in panel production process. Theoretical panel stiffness evaluations are provided in Appendix D.